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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