Accessibility statement

Dr Matt Lesch



Dr Lesch's expertise lies in the politics of policymaking. He has an interdisciplinary research agenda situated at the intersection of comparative public policy, political science, and public health. His main research interests include ideas and policy change, processes of policy transfer, and the politics of evidence-policy making. His research has explored these issues in several different domains, including alcohol policy, public health, and taxation. 


His research outputs can be accessed via Google Scholar 


Matt was a Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences. There, he led the policy section of the Transformative Research on the Alcohol Industry, Policy, and Science (TRAPS), a Wellcome Trust-funded research program investigating the influence of the alcohol industry on alcohol policy and science.


Before joining the University of York, he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University in the Department of Sociology and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.


Matt earned his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2017. He also holds an MA from the University of British Columbia and a BA (Hons.) from Western University


He is interested in supervising PhD students in comparative public policy, especially but not exclusively in the research areas that are mentioned above.



Matt’s work focuses on the policymaking process, with a particular interest in theories of policy change. He is interested in better understanding how political factors influence the adoption, durability, and spread of evidence-based policy solutions. His most recent research has studied these dynamics through analysis of public health policymaking in Europe (Ireland and the UK), Australia, North America (United States and Canada), and Africa (South Africa and Uganda).


Additionally, he actively participates in several international research collaborations. Notable among these are the WHO Europe/EU Evidence into Action Alcohol Projectthe UK/Ireland Alcohol Research Network, and the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol. 


Selected publications

  • McCambridge, Jim and Matthew Lesch. Forthcoming “Are we moving into a new era for alcohol policy globally? An analysis of the Global Alcohol Action Plan.” BMJ Global Health.
  • McCambridge Jim, Matthew Lesch, and Mary Madden. 2023. “The UK Government, Alcohol and Public Health: Missing in Action?" BMJ Global Health 383: 1-2.
  • Bartlett, Andrew, Mattthew Lesch, Su Golder, and Jim McCambridge. 2023. “Alcohol Policy Framing in South Africa During the Early Stages of COVID-19: Using Extraordinary Times to Make an Argument for a New Normal” BMC Public Health 23 (1877): 1-12.
  • Lesch Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2023. “Evolution of the major alcohol companies key global policy vehicle through the prism of tax records 2011–19.” Globalization and Health 19(34): 1-10.
  • Lesch Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2023. “Distilling the Distillers: Examining the Political Activities of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.” Globalization and Health 19(1): 1–1
  • McCambridge, Jim, Gemma Mitchell, Matthew Lesch, Andrea Filippou, Su Golder, Jack Garry, Andrew Bartlett, and Mary Madden. 2022. “The emperor has no clothes: a synthesis of findings from the Transformative Research on the Alcohol industry, Policy and Science research programme.” 118(3): 558–566.
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2022. “The alcohol industry, the tobacco industry, and excise taxes in the US 1986–89: new insights from the tobacco documents.” BMC Public Health. 22(946): 1–12.
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2022. “Understanding the political organisation and tactics of the alcohol industry in Ireland 2009-18.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 83(4): 574–
  • Lesch, Matthew and Heather Millar. 2022. “Crisis, uncertainty and urgency: processes of learning and emulation in tax policy making.” West European Politics. 45(4): 930–
  • Lesch, Matthew. 2022. “Competing, Learning, or Emulating? Policy Transfer and Sales Tax Reform.” Provincial Policy Laboratories: Policy Diffusion and Transfer in Canada's Federal System. Edited by: Brendan Boyd and Andrea Olive, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 92–
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2022. “Policy communities, devolution and policy transfer: The case of alcohol pricing in Wales.” Regional and Federal Studies 33(2): 163–185
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2021. “Waiting for the wave: Political leadership, policy windows, and alcohol policy change in Ireland.” Social Science & Medicine, 282(114116): 1–
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2021. “A long-brewing crisis: The historical antecedents of major alcohol policy change in Ireland.” Drug and Alcohol Review 41(1): 135–
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. “Coordination, framing and innovation: the political sophistication of public health advocates in Ireland.” Addiction 116(11): 3252–
  • Lesch, Matthew and Jim McCambridge. 2020. “Reconceptualising the study of alcohol policy decision-making: the contribution of political science.” Addiction Research & Theory 29(5): 427–435.
  • Mitchell, Gemma, Matthew Lesch, and Jim McCambridge. 2020. “Alcohol Industry Involvement in the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health Trial.” American Journal of Public Health, 110(4): 485–
  • Millar, Heather, Matthew Lesch, and Linda White. 2019. “Connecting models of the individual and policy change processes: a research agenda.” Policy Sciences 52(1): 97–118.



  • Theories of the Policy Process

photo of Matt Lesch

Contact details

Dr Matt Lesch
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD

Feedback and Guidance hours, (Semester 2) Mondays 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00 Book online