University of Minnesota
Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science

Benjamin W Ansell

Department Affiliations


Ben W. Ansell is an Associate Professor of Political Science. His academic interests include a variety of issues in political economy, including both comparative politics and international relations. His recent works focus on the politics of education policy, the relationship between inequality and democracy, and on the effects of asset price inflation on political preferences.

Professor Ansell is the author of From the Ballot to the Blackboard (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He has published articles on education policy in World Politics and International Organization and on inequality and democracy in Comparative Political Studies. His new book, Social Policy in Small European States (co-edited with Gary Cohen, Robert Cox and Jane Gingrich) is forthcoming from Berghahn Books in 2011.


  • International political economy and comparative political economy, with specific focus on examining the political economy of human capital

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Government, Harvard University, 2006.
  • MA: Political Science , University of California, Berkeley, 2002.
  • MA: History, University of Manchester, 1999.
  • BA (Hons): History, University of Manchester, 1998.


  • Preferences in Context: Micro-Preferences, Macro_contexts, and the Demand for Social Policy: Ansell, Benjamin, Jane Gingrich, Comparative Political Studies, 10 , 2013.
  • Social Policy in Small European States Cohen, Gary, Ben Ansell, Robert Cox, and Jane Gingrich (eds.), 2011, Berghahn Books, NY. In production.
  • From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education, 2010, Cambridge University Press, Studies in Comparative Politics series.
  • “˜Inequality and Democratization: A Contractarian Approach’, with David Samuels, Comparative Political Studies, December 2010.
  • “˜University Challenges: Explaining Institutional Change in Higher Education’. World Politics, January 2008.
  • “˜Teachers, Traders, and Tyrants: Democracy, Globalization and Education Spending’. International Organization, Spring 2008.


  • Charles H. Sumner Dissertation Prize, Harvard, 2007

Courses Taught

  • POL 1905: Contemporary Puzzles in Politics and Economics
  • POL 4410: Globalization and Domestic Politics
  • POL 8440/8660: Theories of Political Economy
  • POL 8601: Comparative Politics Core
  • POL 8405: International Political Economy
  • POL 8060: Colloquium in Methods and Models, Fall 2007, Spring 2008.
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