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Dr James Cross


James Cross

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


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 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. We also investigate the evolution of the plenary agenda of the European Parliament over time. The results of that project can be explored here . 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. 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 ). 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 2015 ). 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 ins


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Jean Monnet Chair
European Commission
1 Sep 2019 - 31 Aug 2022
Jean Monnet Chair
New Political Economy of Europe
Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
1 Sep 2018 - 31 Aug 2021
Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence