Stefan Müller

Stefan Müller

Assistant Professor and Ad Astra Fellow

University College Dublin

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor and Ad Astra Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. Previously, I was a Senior Researcher at the University of Zurich.

My research focuses on political representation, party competition, political communication, public opinion, and quantitative text analysis. My work has been published in journals such as the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, Political Communication, the European Journal of Political Research, and Political Science Research and Methods, among others. I am leading two funded research projects. The first project assesses environmental and energy policies in comparative perspective. The project is embedded into the all-island, multidisciplinary energy research programme NexSys. The second project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, employs quantitative text analysis to analyse grant peer review reports.

I am a core member of the Connected_Politics Lab, a fellow at the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, a non-resident fellow at the Digital Democracy Lab at the University of Zurich, a member of the UCD Energy Institute, co-author of the quanteda R package, and maintainer of the Irish Polling Indicator. You can find me on Mastodon: @stefanmueller@mastodon.social.

Full CV

Publications

Google Scholar Profile

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

2022. “Leader of the Pack? Changes in ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’ After a Politburo Collective Study Session.” The China Quarterly online first (with Samuel Brazys Alexander Dukalskis).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2022. “Issue Ownership and Agenda Setting in the 2019 Swiss National Elections.” Swiss Political Science Review 28(2): 190–208 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2022. “The Temporal Focus of Campaign Communication.” The Journal of Politics 84(1): 585–590.
Best Paper Award, Manifesto Corpus Conference (2018)
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2022. “Social Media and Political Agenda Setting.” Political Communication 39(1): 39–60 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2022. “Voter Expectations of Government Formation in Coalition Systems: The Importance of the Information Context.” European Journal of Political Research 61(1): 111–133 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2022. “Building Research Infrastructures to Study Digital Technology and Politics: Lessons from Switzerland.” PS: Political Science & Politics 55(2): 354–359 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Lucien Baumgartner, Clau Dermont, Karsten Donnay, Theresa Gessler, Maël Kubli, and Lucas Leemann).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2021. “Gender, Candidate Emotional Expression, and Voter Reactions During Televised Debates.” American Political Science Review 115(4): 1242–1257 (with Constantine Boussalis, Travis G. Coan, and Mirya R. Holman).
Walter Lippmann Best Article of the Year Award, APSA Political Communication Section (2022)
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2021. “Evidence for the Irrelevance of Irrelevant Events.” Political Science Research and Methods online first (with Liam Kneafsey).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2021. “Are Irish Voters Moving to the Left?” Irish Political Studies 36(4): 535–555 (with Aidan Regan).
Best Paper Award, PSAI Annual Conference (Elizabeth Meehan Prize, 2021)
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2021. “The Incumbency Advantage in Second-Order PR Elections: Evidence from the Irish Context, 1942–2019.” Electoral Studies 71: 102331 (with Michael Jankowski).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2021. “Social Media and Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Switzerland.” Swiss Political Science Review 27(2): 243–256 (with Fabrizio Gilardi, Theresa Gessler, and Maël Kubli).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2020. “Media Coverage of Campaign Promises Throughout the Electoral Cycle.” Political Communication 37(5): 696–718.
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2020. “The Electoral Cycle Effect in Parliamentary Democracies.” Political Science Research and Methods 8(4): 795–802 (with Tom Louwerse).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2020. “Campaigns and the Selection of Policy-Seeking Representatives.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 45(3): 397–431 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2019. “Do Voters Really Prefer More Choice? Determinants of Support for Personalised Electoral Systems.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 29(2): 262–281 (with Michael Jankowski).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

2018. “quanteda: An R Package for the Quantitative Analysis of Textual Data.” Journal of Open Source Software 3(30): 774 (with Kenneth Benoit, Kohei Watanabe, Haiyan Wang, Paul Nulty, Adam Obeng, and Akitaka Matsuo).
Winner of the Society for Political Methodology Statistical Software Award (2020)
[PDF] [Software Repository]

2018. “Voter Preferences and Party Loyalty under Cumulative Voting: Political Behaviour after Electoral Reform in Bremen and Hamburg.” Electoral Studies 51: 93–102 (with Shaun Bowler and Gail McElroy).
[PDF]

2018. “Assessing the Influence of Neutral Grounds on Match Outcomes.” International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 18(6): 892–905 (with Liam Kneafsey).
[PDF] [Data and Code]

Other Publications

2022. Quanteda Tutorials (with Kohei Watanabe). https://tutorials.quanteda.io.

Current Research

Book Project

Text Analysis Using R (with Kenneth Benoit).
[Draft Version]

Papers Under Review

Nostalgia in European Politics: A Novel Text-Based Measurement Approach (with Sven-Oliver Proksch).

Citizen Reactions to Experts in Deliberative Assemblies (with Garrett Kennedy and Tomás Maher).

Journal Impact Factor and Peer Review Thoroughness and Helpfulness: A Supervised Machine Learning Study (with Anna Severin, Michaela Strinzel, Matthias Egger, Tiago Barros, Alexander Sokolov, and Julia Vilstrup Mouatt).
[PDF] [Nature Q&A]

How Slack Facilitates Communication and Collaboration in Seminars and Project-Based Modules.
[PDF]

Working Papers

Discourse Wars and ‘Mask Diplomacy’: China’s Global Image Management in Times of Crisis (with Samuel Brazys and Alexander Dukalskis).
[PDF]

Campaign Promises and Legislative Leadership Posts (with Naofumi Fujimura).

Posting Political Proficiency: How Candidates Use Social Media to Signal Their Qualities During Election Campaigns (with James P Cross, Derek Greene, and Martijn Schoonvelde).

Legislating Landlords: Private Interests, Issue Emphasis, and Policy Positions (with Jihed Ncib).

If you would like to get access to the latest version of a paper, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Funded Research Projects

Analysing Grant Peer Review Reports Using Machine Learning

Project Summary: Peer review plays an essential role in grant evaluation. External peer review reports by international experts contribute to assessing the feasibility and quality of grant applications and provide an essential basis for funding decisions. In addition, they help justify rejections and provide feedback, which may help applicants improve their research. Peer review thus has the power to influence which researchers and what kind of research receives funding and can subsequently be conducted. For funding organisations, peer review must fulfil these functions. Peer review reports should also be in line with their understanding of quality. Peer review should also enable fair, transparent, and efficient funding decisions and foster diversity in research (ideas, methodologies, and approaches) and researchers.

This research project is a collaboration between University College Dublin and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The project will analyse the texts of anonymised grant review reports along several dimensions using human coding and machine learning. We seek to conceptualise characteristics of grant peer review reports and classify a large corpus of review reports. The project investigates whether strategic initiatives and new evaluation procedures have the desired effects on the content and structure of review reports.

Project Funding: €276,000

Assessing and Explaining Environmental and Energy Policies in Comparative Perspective

Project Summary: Political parties, politicians, companies, and interest groups increasingly discuss how to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions future, but systematic evidence that tracks these political debates is still lacking. The project “Assessing and Explaining Environmental and Energy Policies in Comparative Perspective” seeks to identify the problems political actors raise and solutions they offer regarding renewable energy, sustainability, and water treatment. The project will also assess how companies and interest groups aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. By combining quantitative text analysis, human coding, and supervised machine learning, it will define and map (proposed) policies relating to the environment and sustainability, and provide recommendations for policymakers.

The project is part of NexSys, a newly established All Island SFI Strategic Partnership Programme. NexSys focuses on the transition to a net zero carbon energy system. It is a unique partnership bringing together a multidisciplinary research team, industry, and policymakers to tackle fundamental research questions to be addressed as part of the transition to net Zero. Hosted by UCD Energy Institute, NexSys brings together academics from nine institutions across the Island of Ireland (University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, ESRI, Maynooth University, University College Cork, NUI Galway, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast) to work together to meet the unprecedented scale and complexity of the challenges associated with the energy transition.

Project Funding: €183,000 (total funding: €16 million)

Teaching

Module Instructor: Undergraduate Level

Module Instructor: Postgraduate Level

I maintain and continuously update a GitHub repository with the syllabi of all modules.

Workshop Instructor

I could also teach these workshops at your institution. Do not hesitate to contact me.

Teaching Qualifications

  • Professional Certificate in University Teaching & Learning, University College Dublin (2021–2022)
  • Certificate in Academic Teaching & Supporting Learning, Centre for Academic Practice and eLearning, Trinity College Dublin (2016)

Teaching Awards

Irish Opinion Polls

Irish Polling Indicator

The Irish Polling Indicator is a joint project with Tom Louwerse. We combine all opinion polls for the Dáil Éireann into daily estimates of public support for Irish parties. We released a new Irish Polling Indicator website and provide datasets containing results from over 660 polls since 1983 and daily aggregated estimates from 1987 to 2022.

UCD Expertise featured the Polling Indicator and related research.

The figure below (updated automatically after the release of new polls) reports the most recent estimates of party support.

Irish Demographic Polling Datasets

The Irish Demographic Polling Datasets collect aggregated results on vote intentions, satisfaction with the government, and popularity of party leaders. The data are available for all respondents and various subsamples, such as age groups, gender, social class, geographic region, and district magnitude. The database merged over 100 polls, published between 2011 and 2022. The data were collected in collaboration with Thomas Pluck.

Contact