University College Dublin logo
Dr James Cross


James Cross

Lecturer/Assistant Professor
School of Politics and International Relations
University College Dublin, School of Politics and International Relations


I am a Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. Broadly speaking, my research agenda addresses various aspects of international and comparative politics, with a specific focus on policy making in the European Union (EU). My current research with colleagues at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics here in UCD focuses on extracting substantive insight into EU politics from official online records. We investigate the evolution of the plenary agenda of the European Parliament over time. The results of that project can be explored here and the associated research paper is Greene & Cross (2017). We also utilise text analysis and data visualisation methods alongside social network analysis and other statistical tool to investigate how the EU legislates and how members of the European Parliament use communication tools like Twitter to communicate their activities to the public. In a second ongoing collaborative project, we have developed an algorithm that allows for the efficient and replicable large-scale collection and analysis of data relating to the EU legislative process from a series of online databases. This research applies methods adapted from bio-informatics and natural language processing to analyse a large corpus of legislative texts in the EU (Cross & Hermansson 2017). These new methods and data will be used to provide insight into patterns of conflict and cooperation between the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament in the EU policy-making process. These questions lie at the heart of the European integration project, and investigating the manner in which patterns of conflict and cooperation between these institutional actors have changed as the EU has evolved over time is central to understanding this EU policy-making process. The methods developed when studying the legislative process in the EU also have the potential to be adapted to other legislative bodies, and further effort in this direction is envisaged as part of the broader research project, starting with the replication of important existing studies in comparative politics.My post-doctoral work at the ETH in Zurich and as a Max Weber and Jean Monnet Fellow at the EUI in Florence developed upon my Ph.D. work in a number of ways. I examined the role of transparency and censorship in the EU Policy-making process, specifically looking at how different levels of transparency affect negotiator position taking during negotiations (Cross 2013b). I applied insights gained from formal theoretical models of committee decision making to explain how the negotiation behaviour of Member States is affected by the levels of transparency applied to different negotiation contexts. I have also considered the determinants of legislative transparency within the Council of Ministers, as this is a central concern for those concerned with the democratic legitimacy of EU decision making (Cross 2014; Cross & Boelstad 2014). My Ph.D. thesis examined the legislative decision-making process at different levels of negotiation within the Council of Ministers of the European Union. In particular, it focused upon how Member State officials exert their influence over the legislative process, through interventions made over the course of negotiations, and it explored different theory-driven explanations of Member State behaviour and legislative decision making. To date, two publications in leading international journals have resulted from this work. The first of these (Cross 2012) shows that there are important differences in the negotiation strategies used by Member State officials within the Council. This study found that a series of factors, including differences in Member State voting power, the potential for Member States to form coalitions, and the influence of legislative rules over the decision-making process, all impact upon Member State intervention behaviour. A second study (Cross 2013a) found that Member States' legislative bargaining success within the Council could be explained by a combination of agency, luck and the institutional environment within which the Member States negotiate. The data used in these studies was part of the efforts to extend the 'Decision-making in the European Union' dataset (see here for details).


  • BA
    University College Cork
  • MSc
    University of Bristol
  • PhD
    Trinity College Dublin