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June 19, 2015

Dear Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) user community,

We are pleased to announce that Noam Lupu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the winner of the 2015 GESIS Klingemann Prize for the Best CSES Scholarship, for his paper "Party Polarization and Mass Partisanship: A Comparative Perspective" that was published online in June 2014 (and later in print) in the journal Political Behavior.

There will be a reception to honor Noam and his work on Friday August 28, 2015 at 7:30pm in Montreal, Canada at the annual meeting of the European Consortium for Political Research. The reception will include a brief presentation of the winning work, and an update about the overall project.

This year's Selection Committee consisted of Rachel Meneguello of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Markus Quandt of the GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, and Zeynep Somer-Topcu of Vanderbilt University. The Selection Committee described their selection of the winning work as follows:

"An ongoing stream of analysis using Comparative Study of Electoral System (CSES) data investigates the link between political parties and voters, often with a view towards assessing the potential costs and benefits regarding the overall quality of democratic representation. The combination of soundly researched results and relevant, normative questions about democratic systems is a hallmark of many of the best of CSES-based publications.

This year's award winning work is another exemplar of this special combination. Noam Lupu's article 'Party Polarization and Mass Partisanship: A Comparative Perspective' provides a fresh look at the effects of party polarization, i.e. the programmatic or ideological distance among political parties of a certain political system at any given point in time. While the conventional wisdom holds polarization to be detrimental to the quality of governance, and to eventually disengage citizens from their polity, Lupu shows that polarization can also have markedly positive effects. Polarized party positions increase the clarity of choice for the voters. Party polarization also is related to an increased sense of relevance as to what happens in the political arena. If subjective stakes are higher, so should be the willingness to invest effort, time, skills, and emotion into politics, and thus into the subjective attachment to parties.

Lupu confirms these core hypotheses using research with unprecedented breadth, extremely careful development of necessary micro-level and macro-level theoretical reasoning, and using state of the art statistical methodology.

Lupu's work investigates these effects not only using CSES data in a cross-national perspective, but also with longitudinal data from the American National Election Studies and individual-level panel data from the U.S. Political Socialization Study. In the paper, the construct of party polarization is not only measured by aggregating individual-level data, but also by coding party programs into ideological distance measures. The robustness of the results to all of this methodological variation is impressive.

In sum, the awarded work adds significantly and in innovative ways to the body of knowledge about the reasons behind differences in mass partisanship. It is in all respects a commendable and impressive use of the CSES."

The CSES would like to thank this year's Selection Committee, and express its appreciation for all of the nominations for this year's prize. We would also like to thank the GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences for sponsoring the prize.

Noam Lupu (2014). Party Polarization and Mass Partisanship: A Comparative Perspective. Political Behavior, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp. 331-356. doi: 10.1007/s11109-014-9279-z


The GESIS Klingemann Prize for the Best CSES Scholarship is awarded for best CSES scholarship (paper, book, dissertation, or other scholarly work, broadly defined) published or finalized in the calendar year prior to the award. The prize is named in honor of Professor Doctor Hans-Dieter Klingemann, an internationally renowned political scientist, major contributor to comparative research, and co-founder of the CSES project.