Prof. Jacobs (Ph.D. Harvard) specializes in the comparative politics of advanced industrialized democracies and in the politics of public policy, with particular emphasis on the welfare state. He currently teaches courses on comparative public policy and on qualitative research methods. Prof. Jacobs was the Acting Director for the UBC IES for 2013-2014.
Prof. Jacobs’ current research, supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the UBC Hampton Fund, seeks to explain how democratic governments make intertemporal policy tradeoffs. Specifically, he is interested in understanding the conditions under which elected governments adopt policies that have short-term costs but long-term social benefits — a type of policy choice he terms a “policy investment.” To date he has examined the politics of policy investment within the field of public pension financing in Europe and North America (focusing on Germany, Britain, the United States, and Canada). In related work-in-progress, Jacobs is designing a public-opinion survey to illuminate the structure of citizens’ attitudes toward policy investments in a range of policy fields.