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Dr. Rory Costello


Rory Costello specialises in electoral and legislative politics in Europe, with a particular focus on Ireland and on the European Union. Before coming to UL in 2011, Rory worked at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has published on topics such as election pledge fulfilment, party politics in the European Parliament, the division of power among EU institutions, bicameralism, political representation, and coalition formation. His research has appeared in a variety of international journals including (among others) Party Politics, European Union Politics, Journal of European Public Policy, Electoral Studies, West European Politics, and American Journal of Political Science. He runs the WhichCandidate voting aid application (

Research Interests

My research interests include EU politics, political representation, electoral behaviour, voter engagement and coalition government.

Current projects include:

  • Representation beyond political parties. This project, funded by the Irish Research Council, examines the consequences of the decline of political parties for the quality of representation, focusing on the 2016 Irish general election.
  • The voting advice application WhichCandidate. This is an online tool designed to provide information to voters while at the same time collecting valuable data on the policy preferences of election candidates and their constituents. It was run on a nationwide basis for the 2015 General Election, in partnership with The Irish Times and a number of local media outlets, and used by over 100,000 voters during the election.
  • Research into online political gambling markets and their use as measures of election campaign volatility and election forecasting (What are the Odds). With Matthew Wall and Stephen Lindsay of Swansea University.
  • Analysis of election pledge fulfillment by political parties and the factors influencing pledge fulfillment, both in Ireland and cross-nationally. This research is carried out in collaboration with an international research network, the Comparative Party Pledge group. The first comparative publication from this project can be found here.

Teaching Interests

My primary teaching interests lie in European politics, including both the European Union and the comparative study of European countries. I have also taught in the areas of political behaviour, research methods, and Irish politics.

PO5005 Graduate Research Methods
PO4015 Government and Politics of the EU
PO4023 Comparative European Politics
PO5081 Academic and Transferable Skills
PO5232 Representative Democracy in Europe

Professional Activities


  • 2015 - Irish Research Council New Horizons Research Project Award (€44,373)
  • 2013 - AHSS/ISKS Fellowship, €5,000
  • 2008 - Best Article Award, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
  • 2006 - Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholarship


  • 2010 London School of Economics (2010-11) - Fellow in European Politics
  • 2008 University of Twente (2008-10) - Post-doctoral Research Fellow


Book Chapter


European elections gradually becoming less 'second-order' in Ireland
Costello, R
Euroflections: Leading academics on the European elections 2019


Thomson R.;Costello R.;Love E.
Party Mandates and Democracy: Making, Breaking, and Keeping Election Pledges in Twelve Countries


Party identification in the wake of the crisis: a nascent realignment?
Costello, R
The Post-Crisis Irish Voter: Voting Behaviour in the Irish 2016 General Election DOI: 10.7765/9781526122650.00010


Costello, R
The Sage Encyclopedia of Political Behavior DOI: 10.4135/9781483391144.n32


The Fulfilment of Election Pledges by the Outgoing Government
Costello, Rory; O'Neill, Paul; Thomson, Robert
How Ireland Voted 2016: The Election that Nobody Won DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40889-7_2


The fulfilment of election pledges
Costello, R; Thomson, R
How Ireland Voted 2007 DOI: 10.1057/9780230597990_2

Conference Contribution


European Consortium for Political Research General Conference
R. Costello, P. Dumont, R. Thomson, M. Kerby and E. O'Malley


Mid-West Political Science Association Annual Conference
R. Thomson, C. Moury, R. Costello, M. Ferguson and K. Praprotnik


The Responsible Party Model in Times of Dealignment
Rory Costello and Achillefs Papageorgiou


American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
R. Thomson, T. Royed, E. Naurin, J. Artes, R. Costello, D. Duval, M. Ferguson, P. Kostadinova, C. Moury, F Petry and K Prapotnik


Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference
Costello, Rory; Papageorgiou, Achillefs


MacGill Summer School
Costello, R


Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference
Wall, Matthew; Costello, Rory; Lindsay, Stephen


MPSA Annual Conference, Chicago
Costello, Rory and Robert Thomson


Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference
Thomassen, J; Costello, R; Rosema, M

Edited Book

Other Publication


Economic issues provide election's common ground
Costello, Rory
Limerick Leader


Sinn Féin surge cannot be explained by anti-EU sentiment
Costello, R; Wall, M
The Irish Times

Peer Reviewed Journal


Congruence between voters and parties: The role of party-level issue salience
Costello R.;Toshkov D.;Bos B.;Krouwel A.
European Journal Of Political Research DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12388


The Fulfillment of Parties' Election Pledges: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Power Sharing
Thomson, R; R Royed; E Naurin; J Artés; R Costello; L Ennser-Jedenastik; M Ferguson; P Kostandinova; C Moury; F Pétry; K Praprontnik
American Journal Of Political Science DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12313


A new dataset on decision-making in the European Union before and after the 2004 and 2007 enlargements (DEUII)
Thomson, R,Arregui, J,Leuffen, D,Costello, R,Cross, J,Hertz, R,Jensen, T
Journal Of European Public Policy DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2012.662028


Election Pledges and their Enactment in Coalition Governments: A Comparative Analysis of Ireland
Costello, R.; Thomson, R.
Journal Of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties DOI: 10.1080/17457280802227652