Meet the Dean

Bob Andersen

Robert Andersen
Dean, Faculty of Social Science
Professor of Sociology, Political Science, Statistics and Actuarial Science

Robert Andersen is a political sociologist and social statistician with a primary academic appointment in the Department of Sociology. He is also cross-appointed in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences and the Department of Political Science. Before being appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at Western in July 2015, Andersen was Distinguished Professor of Social Science and Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He also previously held faculty positions at McMaster University, where he was the Senator William McMaster Chair in Political Sociology, the University of Oxford and Brock University.  He often consults for government agencies and provides statistical training to faculty and graduate students at universities across the world. Andersen has had research funds totalling more than $1,000,000. In 2017, Andersen received the Canadian Sociological Association Outstanding Contribution Award. The award recognizes significant contributions to Canadian sociology and 'exceptional scholarly merit'

Most of Andersen’s recent research explores the relationship between economic inequality and political attitudes and behaviours in a cross-national perspective. He is particularly concerned with how individual-level economic position—measured by social class or income—interacts with national economic conditions to influence outcomes considered important to the health of democracy, including tolerance, support for democracy, attitudes toward redistribution, and civic participation. He also explores the role of university in social mobility. Most of his research is cross-national. His published research includes Modern Methods for Robust Regression (Sage, 2008), and more than 65 academic papers including articles in the Annual Review of Sociology, American Journal of Political Science, American Sociological Review, British Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Sociology, Journal of Politics, and Sociological Methodology.

Andersen has also provided consulting for government and several non-governmental agencies, including the United Nations, the European Commission, the Canadian Government and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.

Andersen is still actively considering supervising graduate students in Political Science and Sociology.

More About Robert Andersen, PhD

  • 1998 Ph.D., Sociology, McMaster University
  • 1994 M.A., Sociology, University of Western Ontario
  • 1992 Honours diploma, Sociology, University of Western Ontario
  • 1991 B.A., Political Science, University of Western Ontario



  • Andersen, Robert and Mitch McIvor (2013) Growing Inequality and its Impacts in Canada. Report to the European Commission, Brussels January 2013 (108 p.). GINI (Growing Inequalities’ Impacts international research project) 7th Framework Programme (




  • Andersen, Robert and Meir Yaish (2018, in press). 'Preferences for the distribution of incomes in modern societies: The enduring influence of social class and economic context,’ Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques.
  • Brym, Robert, Robert Andersen and Scott Milligan (2018). ’Are Islam and Democracy Compatible?’ pp. 249-257 in Patrizia Albanese, Lorne Tepperman and Eily Alexander, eds. Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives, 3rd ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press.



  • Andersen, Robert (2016). “What can Canada learn from Europe? Policies to promote low income inequality and high prosperity,” pp 10-30 in Brym, Robert, (ed.), Inequality and the Future of Canadian Society. Oakville ON: Rock’s Mills Press.
  • Andersen, Robert (2016). ‘Economic Inequality and Acceptance of Minority Groups in Cross-National Perspective: Is Canada Uniquely Tolerant?’ Chapter 24 in Edward Grabb, Jeffrey G. Reitz, and Monica Hwang (eds.), Social Inequality in Canada: Dimensions of Disadvantage (6th edition). Toronto: Oxford University Press.
  • Brym, Robert and Robert Andersen (2016). “Democracy, women’s rights, and public opinion in Tunisia,” International Sociology, 31:1-15.



  • Milligan, Scott, Robert Andersen and Robert Brym (2014). ‘Assessing Variation in Tolerance in 23 Muslim-Majority and Western Countries,’ Canadian Review of Sociology, 51: (3): 239-261.
  • Andersen, Robert and Mitch McIvor (2014). ‘Rising Inequality and Its Impact in Canada: The Role of National Debt’, pp. 172-195 in Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Thirty Rich Countries: Thirty Countries’ Experiences, edited by Brian Nolan, Wiemer Salverda, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman van de Werfhorst. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Andersen, Robert, Brian Burgoon and Herman Van De Werfhorst (2014) ‘Inequality, legitimacy and the political system’, pp. 218-238 in Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Thirty Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives, edited by Brian Nolan, Wiemer Salverda, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth and Herman van de Werfhorst. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
















  • 2017, Canadian Sociological Association Outstanding Contribution Award. Recognizes significant contributions to Canadian sociology and 'exceptional scholarly merit'
  • 2008, 2010-14 Dean’s Excellence Award, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto
  • 2006 Premier’s Research Excellence Award, Government of Ontario Awarded to Ontario’s best recently-appointed researchers working at publicly funded Ontario research institutions (within 10 years)
  • 2005 Frank L Wilson Prize for Best Paper (with Jocelyn Evans) French Politics section, American Political Science Association
  • 2003 British Elections and Parties Review Best Paper Award (with Geoffrey Evans) Elections, Public Opinion and Parties section of the Political Studies Association
  • 1998 Alfred Hunter Memorial Award, McMaster University; Excellence in dissertation research.
  • 1996 American Sociological Association/ICPSR Clifford Clogg Scholarship; Recognition of outstanding potential to be a successful social science research professional.