My research interests cover several substantive fields, including political economy, comparative politics, public opinion and elections, as well as education and social policy. To answer questions in these fields, I use quantitative methods, with a special focus on time series analysis and methods for causal inference using observational data. I also have a longstanding but not particularly successful interest in agent-based modelling.


imageKappe, R. (2020). Multilingualism and the Brexit Referendum. in Strani, K. (ed.) Multilingualism and Politics: Revisiting Multilingual Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan.

downloadKappe, R. (2018). Asymmetric evaluations: Government popularity and economic performance in the United KingdomElectoral Studies53, 133-138.

srspKappe, R. (2016). The Effect of the Religious Environment on Teenage Birth Rates in the United States. Sexuality Research and Social Policy13(3), 241-251.

Rauh, C., Kirchner, A., & Kappe, R. (2011). Political parties and higher education spending: who favours redistribution?West European Politics34(6), 1185-1206.

Working Papers

The political psychology of UKIP: Personality factors, authoritarianism and support for right-wing populist parties in Britain, working paper, presented at the annual conference of the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) specialist group, Cardiff, 2015.

A behavioural model of asymmetric retrospective voting, working paper, presented at the ECPR General Conference, Bordeaux, 2013.

Wheat from Chaff: A Sensitivity Analysis of Determinants of Social Expenditure Levels in OECD Countries, working paper, presented at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL

Consumer Sentiment: Heterogeneous Responses to Economic Reality, working paper, presented at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL


A Theory of Asymmetric Retrospective Voting  (working title)

Prospect theory tells us that humans pay more attention to losses than to comparable gains. My dissertation seeks to apply this insight to the field of retrospective voting and in particular economic voting.
First, I develop a formal model of asymmetric retrospective voting which allows for incorporating loss aversion. Then, the empirical implications of this theoretical model are tested using a variety of methodological approaches. First, the model’s predictions about human behavior are tested directly in a laboratory experiment using a simplified version of the asymmetric retrospective voting model. In a second step, the analytical focus is widened, turning from the individual to the aggregate level: Using monthly time-series data, the asymmetric retrospective voting model is tested using the reaction of aggregate vote intentions to changes in economic conditions and evaluations. In a final step, using the broadest lens, the implications of the model with respect to the “cost of ruling”, i.e. the empirical phenomenon of declining vote shares for incumbent governments, are tested using a large cross-national sample of elections.

(Committee: Dr. Matthew Lebo (chair), Dr. Oleg Smirnov, Dr. Charles Taber)