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About the Project

Author Biography

The Regulation of Political Finance Indicator was developed by William C R Horncastle.

William is a Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Birmingham's Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), and a Lecturer in the University of Bedfordshire's School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS). His research interests focus on electoral regulation, political finance, large-N comparative methods.

William commenced his research at POLSIS in September 2017. Prior to this, he undertook undergraduate and postgraduate study at the University of Bedfordshire, where his award winning research focussed on corporate criminality and the 2008 Financial Crisis. During his time at POLSIS, he has spent time as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne, funded by the Universitas 21 network. In 2021, William took up a post of Lecturer in Criminology in SASS. 


William C R Horncastle

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Alongside his academic commitments, William has a background in third sector employment, having worked for the global children’s charity World Vision between 2013 and 2019. Contact details and further information on William's research are available here.

Development of the RoPFI


The Regulation of Political Finance indicator is a large-N dataset which compares regulatory approaches to political finance. Incorporating information on party and candidate regulations in a 180-nation sample, the RoPFI provides a set of novel indicators and paints a truly global picture of political finance.

An overview of the RoPFI and its methodology are presented here. Detailed information is available in the open access Electoral Studies article which introduced the RoPFI. Click here for further information.


  • Multiple Correspondence Analysis is applied to the data and produces a scale on which to rank nations from least to most regulated in the area of political finance

  • Model Based Clustering is used to identify and define three types of political finance system

Definitions of System Types
  • Unregulated: No substantive regulation of political finance. Where controls exist, they rarely extend beyond a ban on vote buying or a rudimentary form of indirect public funding

  • Partially Regulated: Countries utilize some controls on political finance, through various combinations of restrictions on private income and spending, requirements for disclosure, and public funding

  • Strongly Regulated: Countries utilize extensive controls in most, and sometimes all, areas of political finance, including controls on private income and spending, requirements for disclosure, and public funding

Elements of the RoPFI
  • A continuous variable which ranks nations from most regulated to least regulated

  • A three level categorical variable to classify political finance systems as Unregulated, Partially Regulated, or Strongly Regulated

  • A statistical measurement of the uncertainty of the nation's RoPFI classification (0 = high certainty, 1 = low certainty)

Funding Information

While no direct funding was received for this project, it was possible through indirect funding from the following organizations:

  • The Sir Richard Stapley Trust

  • The Sidney Perry Foundation

  • The Kentish Foundation

  • The Gilchrist Trust

  • The S C Witting Trust

  • The Universitas 21 Network

Thanks go out to these organizations for their assistance

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