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Lord Bryce prize for Dr Sophie Moxon

Posted on 12 April 2023

Congratulations to Dr Sophie Moxon

Huge congratulations to Dr Sophie Moxon, on winning this year’s Lord Bryce
Prize for her thesis:

‘Can Money Buy Access? Political finance contributions and the impact on
interest group access to legislative committees in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United

The Political Studies Association (PSA) Lord Bryce Prize is awarded for best dissertation in comparative politics. 

The judges said about Sophie's work:

“This dissertation examines the influence of political donations on the policymaking process, a potential
area of representational distortion. The scale of the thesis is impressive. It conducts a comparative
analysis of four countries and eight policy areas, creating two novel datasets on legislative committee
participants and political finance activity. This thesis makes important methodological and empirical
contributions to our understanding of the connection between political donations and policy influence,
an area notoriously difficult to study. By focusing on oral testimony to legislative committees, the
author shows where influence is exerted in legislative drafting, consultation, and agenda setting. The
author’s findings, while complex, demonstrate a clear link between weak political finance regulatory
environments and privileged access to legislative committees. The academic literature on political
finance outside the United States is limited and comparative studies are even rarer. By looking outside
of the US, the thesis exposes the reader to the importance of different regulatory regimes. It raises the
possible role of publicly financed campaigns not just for electoral fairness but also for more
representative policy creation.”