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May 27, 2016

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

We are pleased to announce that Kimuli Kasara of Columbia University and Pavithra Suryanarayan of Johns Hopkins University are the winners of the 2016 GESIS Klingemann Prize for the Best CSES Scholarship, for their paper “When do the rich vote less than the poor and why? Explaining turnout inequality across the world” that was published in print in the July 2015 issue of the American Journal of Political Science.

There will be a reception to honor Kimuli, Pavithra, and their work on Friday September 2, 2016 at 7:30pm in Philadelphia, USA at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The reception will include a brief presentation of the winning work.

This year’s Selection Committee consisted of Orit Kedar (chair) of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Stephen Quinlan of the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, and Masahiro Yamada of Kwansei Gakuin University. The Selection Committee described their selection of the winning work as follows:

“The question of who turns out to vote has occupied political scientists for decades. It is a particularly important question if voters differ in their political interests from those who stay at home. Conventional wisdom holds that turnout is positively correlated with class: the wealthy vote at higher rates than the poor. In their innovative study, Kasara and Suryanarayan show that there is in fact substantial cross-country variation in class-based inequality of turnout. While in many countries the poor are underrepresented among voters, in others the rich stay at home at disproportionately high rates. The authors utilize data from the CSES and supplement it with additional cross-country surveys as well as with additional sources of data about the state to conduct a broad cross-country analysis. They employ a classic two-stage analysis in which they first estimate the effect of income on turnout at the individual level and then systematize the variation in the effect with characteristics of the state. The authors show that the greater the extractive capacity of the state and the divergence of preferences between rich and poor, the more likely are the rich to turn out compared to the poor.

The study is an outstanding example of theoretically innovative and empirically sound research that utilizes CSES data to investigate the relationship between important micro-level regularities and macro-level conditions. With an exciting argument which brings together insights from different fields and rigorous analysis, Kasara and Suryanarayan’s work not only significantly adds to the extensive body of knowledge on turnout and inequality in turnout but also opens new avenues for comparative research.”

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.

Kasara, K. and Suryanarayan, P. (2015), When Do the Rich Vote Less Than the Poor and Why? Explaining Turnout Inequality across the World. American Journal of Political Science, 59: 613-627. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12134


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.