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June 11, 2018

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

We are extremely pleased to announce that André Blais, Eric Guntermann and Marc André Bodet are the winners of the 2018 GESIS Klingemann Prize for the Best CSES Scholarship, for their article “Linking Party Preferences and the Composition of Government: A New Standard for Evaluating the Performance of Electoral Democracy” in Political Science Research and Methods.

There will be a reception to honor the authors and their work on Saturday September 1, 2018 at 7:30pm in Boston, United States at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The reception will include refreshments and a brief presentation of the winning work.

This year’s Selection Committee consisted of Rachel Meneguello (chair) of Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, Christina Eder of the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Germany, and Georg Lutz of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. The Selection Committee described their selection of the winning work as follows:

The crisis of representation in contemporary democracies and the limited responses of democratic governments to the demands of the electorates have placed important constraints on the effectiveness of the electoral formulas established in the various countries.

Blais, Guntermann and Bodet develop an original approach for assessing the quality of democracies, both conceptually and empirically, addressing a fundamental question of democracy, namely the correspondence between citizens’ preferences and government composition.

The authors use CSES data in an innovative way in search of the effectiveness of electoral systems. Drawing extensively on CSES Modules 1-3 and the April 2015 version of Module 4, the article analyzes a sample of 87 legislative elections held in 35 countries. Using the criterion of party preferences, Blais and his colleagues obtain fundamental findings about whether majoritarian or proportional systems of elections perform better in this regard. One of the most important aspects of the study is that by using the measure of citizens’ ratings of political parties, which is available in most election studies and in all of the studies composing CSES, the authors demonstrate the importance of party preferences for understanding satisfaction with the chosen governments, rather than use of party preferences for explaining strategic considerations of vote choice.

The paper fills an important gap in the literature on the performance of electoral systems and its consequences, and especially the impact of the role of parties in the electorate. The authors do not advocate as to which system is best, but establish important foundations on the composition of more representative governments in contemporary democracies. 

The CSES would like to thank the Selection Committee for their work, and the many persons who nominated works for consideration. We furthermore thank the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences for their sponsorship and support of the prize since its establishment in 2011.

Citation: Blais, A., Guntermann, E., & Bodet, M. (2017). Linking Party Preferences and the Composition of Government: A New Standard for Evaluating the Performance of Electoral Democracy. Political Science Research and Methods, 5(2), 315-331.


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.