Dr James Downes




Lecturer in Comparative Politics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Data Adviser, Local Democracy Dashboard (LSE).

Specialist research areas:

Radical Right & Centre Right Party Competition; Role of Immigration in 21st century European politics; 21st century Populism; Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe; Global Populism.

Available for consultancy in the following areas:

Media Commentary (Populist Radical Right; Immigration; Brexit); Advisory Work (Populism in Europe; Global Populism)


Dr James F. Downes is a Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (SAR, China). He researches on the ‘rise’ of populist radical right and radical left parties in Western and Central-Eastern Europe alongside the key issue of immigration. His research has appeared in top political science journals such as Electoral Studies and in edited book volumes such as Routledge, the Contemporary China Series. He teaches courses on European Politics (The Rise of Populism in Europe and European Union Politics) alongside Electoral Studies and Comparative Asian Politics. His PhD dissertation examined how specific ‘types’ of centre right parties can outperform the radical right on the immigration issue in twenty-first century European politics.

He has also written frequent articles on contemporary European populism for LSE EUROPP, Social Europe, Democratic Audit, UK and Brave New Europe. He also provides Data Advice for the Local Democracy Dashboard, a ‘big data’ British Politics project that is based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. From November 2018, he will also serve as a Council Member for the Hong Kong Political Science Association.

Prior to this, Dr Downes was a Visiting Scholar on the European Union Academic Programme Hong Kong, a Tutor in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong and a served as a Director of British & European Politics at Parliament Street. He recently completed his PhD in Comparative Politics at the University of Kent (UK) and was also a Visiting Researcher at the Brussels School of International Studies (Belgium) during his Doctoral Studies. He completed his Masters and Bachelor’s Degrees (Political Science) in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He also completed Quantitative Methods Training at the University of Oxford.

Dr Downes is also a frequent media contributor. He has provided media commentary on issues such as populism and immigration for global outlets such as CNBC Asia, France 24 and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce. He is also on the CUHK Experts List for Media Commentary in International Politics.