School of Politics and International Relations

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Paul M Heywood

Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics; seconded 0.7 FTE to the Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex (2024-27), Faculty of Social Sciences



Professor Paul Heywood is author, co-author or editor of nineteen books and more than eighty journal articles and book chapters. His research focuses primarily on political corruption and integrity management, as well as institutional design and state capacity.

He is currently seconded 0.7 FTE until September 2027 to work with the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex, where he is leader of the FCDO-funded Governance & Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence programme (GI ACE). The programme is designed to identify new initiatives that can help developing countries tackle the scourge of corruption and the negative impact it has on millions of people's lives. It follows on from earlier initiatives funded by DFID/FCDO and managed by the British Academy and Global Integrity respectively (2015-23) that Professor Heywood also led.

Other funded research includes an ESRC/Hong Kong project on Integrity Management in the UK, HK and China; an EU FP7 project, ANTICORRP, on anti-corruption policies; and TACOD, an EU project on tackling corruption through open data. He was the UK Local Research Correspondent on Corruption (2012-16) for the European Commission's DG Home Affairs, helping to produce the 2014 EU Anti-Corruption Report. He is co-founder of, an initiative that focuses on sector-based approaches to tackling corruption.

Professor Heywood graduated with an MA in Politics (First Class) from the University of Edinburgh, then did postgraduate studies in Madrid and at the LSE, from where he received his MSc(Econ) and PhD (Politics). Before taking up a Chair at Nottingham in 1995, he taught at the University of Glasgow and at the University of London. He also worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit, London (1989-93). He has been a member of the ESRC Research Grants Board (2001-05) and was Dean of the University of Nottingham Graduate School from 2003-07. From 2011 until 2015 he was Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and also Director of the University of Nottingham's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, supporting research students in the social sciences. Between 2003 and 2009 he was co-editor of the international journal Government and Opposition, and was Chair of the Board of Directors until 2016.

In 2006, Heywood was appointed Adjunct Professor at the University of Hunan (China), where he is Senior Adviser to the Center for Clean Governance. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (elected 2002), and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected 2012). In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Transparency International UK in 2015, where he chairs the Research Committee, and in 2021 was appointed to TI's recently created International Council. Professor Heywood served as Head of the School of Politics and International Relations from 1995-99, 2001-02, and 2008-11.

Teaching Summary

Professor Heywood is seconded to lead an FCDO-funded research programme and so not currently teaching. Previously, he has taught modules on political parties in Europe, contemporary Spanish politics… read more

Research Summary

There are three separate, but interlinked, strands to Professor Heywood's research which are all driven by the core question of how can we better understand the relationship between institutional… read more

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising students who want to work on the following areas:

  • How can we develop accurate measures of political corruption?
  • What are the most effective strategies to combat political corruption?
  • The international anti-corruption movement and its impact

PhD students currently supervised:

  • Zac Sadow: National Oil Companies in the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas (jointly supervised with Mathew Humphrey, School of Politics & IR)
  • Kevin Kittoe (ESRC-funded student, co-sponsored by Transparency International UK)

PhD students recently completed:

  • Dun Mao: Governance Practices in Shenzhen, China (jointly supervised with Jonathan Sullivan, School of Contemporary Chinese studies)
  • Harald Decker: Local government and representative democracy (jointly supervised with Vivien Lowndes, School of Politics & IR)
  • Ali Sarihan: The role of the military in the Arab Spring (jointly supervised with Cees van der Eijk and Daniel Ritter)
  • Nathan Jones: The adoption of pro-US foreign policy in Spain and the UK
  • Marija Zurnic: Corruption in Serbia (jointly supervised with Jan Meyer-Sahling)
  • Chris Wood: Social capital and the Third Way in Britain and Australia
  • Heather Watkins: Social Enterprises and Local Participation in the UK
  • Maria Urbina: Women in the Chilean Socialist Party
  • Tim Veen: Decision-making in the EU Council of Ministers
  • Lukas Port: Political transition in Cuba [jointly supervised with Prof Antoni Kapcia, Hispanic Studies]
  • Helena Ekelund: The Agencification of Europe
  • Fulya Memisoglu: The EU's Minority Rights Policy and Its Impact in Greece and Turkey
  • Elizabeth Monaghan: The role of civil society in the debate on the future of the EU
  • Andrew Davis: Exploring the Limits of Asymmetric Devolution and Autonomy in the UK and Spain
  • Mette Jolly: Democracy in the European Union
  • Siobhan Daly: Comparative Politics and the Analysis of Democratic Regime Types
  • Arturo Alvarez-Rosete: Social Insurance Schemes in Franco's Spain
  • Chris Hill: Elite Actors and the Spanish Transition to Democracy (1975-1981)
  • Kuo-cheng Huang: Social Movement and Democratisation in Taiwan

Professor Heywood is seconded to lead an FCDO-funded research programme and so not currently teaching. Previously, he has taught modules on political parties in Europe, contemporary Spanish politics in comparative perspective, transitions to democracy, and corruption. Most recently, he taught the following Level 4 module:

M14130 Sleaze, Scandal and Corruption

Since the early 1990s, a series of major scandals in both the financial and most especially the political worlds has resulted in close attention being paid to the issue of corruption and its links to political legitimacy and stability. Indeed, in many countries - in both the developed as well as the developing world - corruption seems to have become almost an obsession. Concern about corruption has become a powerful policy narrative: the explanation of last resort for a whole range of failures and disappointments in the fields of politics, economics and culture. In the more established democracies, worries about corruption have become enmeshed in a wider debate about trust in the political class.

The module focused on empirical and theoretical studies of sleaze, scandal and corruption and explored such questions as:

  • How can corruption be effectively assessed and measured
  • Under what circumstances do incidents of corruption become scandals
  • Does the focus on sleaze reflect the 'tabloidisation' of political life
  • What are the impacts of corruption and scandal on democratic legitimacy and stability
  • Can 'good governance' offer an effective counter-measure to corruption
  • Is corporate corruption on the increase and, if so, how can this be explained
  • What connections exist between high level political corruption and organised crime

Current Research

There are three separate, but interlinked, strands to Professor Heywood's research which are all driven by the core question of how can we better understand the relationship between institutional structures, policy formulation and political outcomes. His approach has been informed by neo-institutionalism, both in its historical ('path dependency') and political ('network modelling') variants. Political corruption:

  • Why do the core 'remedies' for corruption, as prescribed by the World Bank, OECD and other institutions, fail to work as expected in established democracies?
  • What can we learn from 'least corrupt' countries, such as the UK and Sweden, about the 'danger zones' of corruption?
  • Does the increased focus on corruption by political leaders and the media since the early 1990s reflect a rise in the incidence of corruption, or a change in its political instrumentalisation?
  • What are the relationships between corruption, scandal and political trust?

Executive capacity:

  • How do political executives in developed European democracies manage increased public expectation in the context of declining capacity?
  • What can the literature on comparative politics bring to the analysis of the role of the executive in policy-making which public policy approaches fail to capture?

Democratic design and state development:

  • The particular focus here is on Spain: how was this country able to establish a functioning democracy in the aftermath of a long-term repressive dictatorship, and how has territorial integrity been maintained?
  • What are the key threats to democratic stability in Spain, and how have the 'contradictions' of the country been managed?

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