International Politics
  1. Research students
International Politics

Hannah Petersen

PhD Student

CITYPERC Doctoral Fellow

Visiting Fellow Harvard GSAS 2014/15

Department of International Politics

City Political Economy Research Centre


Thesis title: Risk Preferences and Energy Policy

Supervisors: Professor Ronen Palan and Dr Sara Silvestri

Research interests

In her thesis Hannah explores the material, cognitive and relational factors influencing government energy policy design around the issue of shale gas development. In order to do so she is developing a novel, poly-heuristic framework for her empirical work comparing three different lenses used to explain decision-making in a situation of uncertainty. She is establishing the framework by drawing on risk theory literature and risk evaluation models from various disciplines, including international political economy, economics, behavioural economics, organisational theory, IR and sociology. This is based on empirical work showing that policy decision on shale gas are irrational from a classical political science perspective and that economic claims made about policy decisions in the energy sector are defying economic logic. These arguments are taken forward by an in-depth analysis of the decision-making around shale gas made by the United States government and the British government since the commercial development of shale gas in the former. Hannah’s work is both concerned with the specific formation of governmental risk preferences regarding shale gas as well as a broader analysis of policy-making under uncertainty in which cognitive, relational and process-based factors have more influence than rational, empirical calculations. The work is topical as there are many examples and recent studies into diverging risk preferences, often between the United States or European countries, which lead to diverging regulation and policy outcomes. The gap in literature has been labelled noteworthy: diverging risk preferences are assumed and attested for in case studies, but the formation of these is rarely researched.

In her former work as research assistant at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and as a student of Konstanz University, Sciences Po Paris and Sheffield University, Hannah not only concerned herself with risk theory but also gathered expertise in resource politics, transatlantic trade policies and FTAs, and international energy market policies.


  • Marti, E. and Petersen, H. (2016) “The international picture: comparison of financial regulatory agencies in 11 countries”, in A report on the culture of regulators, Cass Business School/ New City Agenda report. (Forthcoming.)
  • Palan, R. and Petersen, H. (2015) 'Security and Political Economy: Strange Bedfellows' in Bourbeau, P. (2015) Security: Dialogue across Disciplines, Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press.
  • Petersen, H. (2014) Shale gas projections are in decline – and we shouldn’t be surprised, The Conversation Online/ Environment & Energy.
  • Mildner, S.A. and Petersen, H. (2014) 'Managing the Economic Crisis? Die Finanz- und Wirtschaftspolitik Obamas', in Böller, F. and Wilzewski, J. (eds), Weltmacht im Wandel. Die USA in der Ära Obama, Trier: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag und Atlantische Akademie, pp. 115 - 148.
  • Petersen, H. (2013) 'As US shale industry falters, a UK fracking boom is unlikely', The Conversation Online/ Environment & Energy.
  • Wodni, W., Mildner, S.A. and Petersen, H. (2012) 'Klimawandel bleibt Nebensache im American Dream', Berlin: SWP Aktuell Journal.


City, University of London:

  • Comparative Political Economy (IP2031 2015, 2016)
  • Making of the Modern World Economy (IP1017 2015, 2016
  • The Global Economy in the 21st Century (IP2023, 2014, 2015)
  • States and Markets (IP2022, 2013/14)
  • Theories of Global Politics (IP 1011, 2013)
  • Political Change in Europe (IP2013, 2012/13 and 2013)
  • Contemporary Issues in Global Politics - 20th Century (IP1003, 2012/13)

University of Konstanz:

  • Political Systems in Europe (2010/11)
  • Governance and Administration in Germany and Europe (2008/09)

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