Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Electoral Democracy (ELECDEM)
Elections are a fundamental, if not always effective, mechanism of democratic accountability and representation. The comparative study of electoral democracies has been the motivating principle of ELECDEM - a training network for early stage and experienced researchers. We have taken a comprehensive approach to the study of electoral democracy using cross-nationally comparative databases, content analysis and experiments to examine the impact of globalisation, technological developments in communication and institutional change on representation and accountability.
The ITN ELECDEM brought together 11 expert teams from 9 European countries to provide substantive and methodological training in elections research to a cohort of researchers. These researchers joined a team that brought together world leading scholars in the cross-national study of elections on one hand, and industry partners like TNS Opinion and Kieskompas on the other hand to provide training and research opportunities. The research projects of the researchers drew on cross-national election studies such as the European Election Study and the CSES.
It held its final conference to disseminate the research findings from the 18 project work packages and also invited researchers to present papers in the area of elections, political behaviour and political communication (copies of the papers presented and further information are available at http://www.elecdem.eu/events/title_84741_en.html ).
At the Mannheim end of the project, two PhD students – Federico Vegetti and Constanza Sanhueza Petrarca – were participating in the Mannheim Graduate School as part of the ELECDEM Initial Training Network. In 2013, Federico finished his dissertation and passed his viva defence with an overall first grade “summa cum laude”. The second Mannheim student, Constanza Sanhueza, is still working on her dissertation and is expected to finish in due course.