Dr Alex Waddan

Associate Professor

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2700



I am an Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Leicester. I've been here for a long time! I enjoy teaching and engaging with students as well as researching materials to enable that teaching. I am the author or co-author of six books including Obamacare Wars with Daniel Beland and Phil Rocco (University of Kansas Press 2016) and numerous journal articles and book chapters. I specialise in teaching and research on U.S. social policy particularly the politics and policy outcomes in health care and social welfare.


My research has primarily been concerned with US politics and particularly the development of American social policy. I have looked extensively at the causes and consequences of major reforms of the US welfare state such as the welfare reform of 1996 and the health care reform of 2010. In addition I have examined the potential and limits of the process of incremental policy change. When for example do a series of minor changes add up to something that might be described as ‘path breaking’ change? A central focus of the work is to investigate the relationship between ideas and institutions as an explanation for policy change or policy inertia. Further to this I have written extensively about the Clinton and Obama presidencies. This work examines how the initially ambitious agendas of these two presidents were circumscribed as they encountered both ideological and institutional obstacles. Nevertheless Obama in particular left a significant legacy. More recently I have looked at social policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic in the US. What tools were employed by government to protect people against the economic consequences of shutting down large parts of the economy. 



Eddie Ashbee, John Dumbrell and Alex Waddan, The American Right After Reagan, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Press, 2019

Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco and Alex Waddan, Obamacare Wars: Federalism, State Politics, and the Affordable Care Act . Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016

Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan, The Politics of Policy Change, Welfare, Medicare and Social Security Reform in the United States, Georgetown University Press, 2012

Refereed Journal Articles

Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2020), ‘Stuck in Neutral? Federalism, Policy Instruments, and Counter-Cyclical Responses to COVID-19 in the United States’, Policy and Society 39(3): 285-308

Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2019), ‘Policy Feedback and the Politics of the Affordable Care Act’, Policy Studies Journal 47(2):395-422

Alex Waddan (2019), ‘Is Health Care in England Really on the Road to Privatization?’ Political Science Quarterly 133 (4):669-694

Alex Waddan (2019), ‘President Obama, poverty, and the scope and limits of social policy change’ Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 35 (1), 96-111 
Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (2017), "Why are there no universal social programs in the United States", World Affairs Journal, 180 (1): 64-92

Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2016), "Reassessing Policy Drift: Social Policy change in the United States",  Social Policy & Administration, 50 (2): 201-218

Daniel Béland, Philip Rocco, and Alex Waddan (2016), "Obamacare and the Politics of Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States",  Social Policy & Administration, 50 (4): 428-451


I am keen to supervise postgraduate work on most aspects of contemporary American politics particularly research examining: • US social policy • US party politics • The Clinton Presidency • The George W Bush Presidency • The Obama Presidency • The Trump Presidency • US Foreign Policy since the end of the Cold War • Comparative public policy 


PL1013: American Government and Politics PL3071: The American Presidency PL3114: American Political Development PL7076: U.S. Foreign Policy Undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation supervision

Press and media

Contemporary US politics
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