Launch of my book “Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe” at UCL SSEES – 8 December 2017

You are all cordially invited to join me for the launch of my book “Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe” (Palgrave, 2017):

8th December 2017
18:00-19:00, followed by a wine & snacks reception
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton Steet, London WC1H 0BW

This book is one of the first comprehensive comparative studies of presidential activism and veto power in Europe. Focusing on presidential vetoes and the formation of governments, it maps patterns of presidential activism and its determinants across nine Central and East European democracies between 1990 and 2010. Thereby, it combines the analysis of original quantitative data on the use of presidential powers with in-depth case studies in an innovative mixed-methods framework. Based on regression analyses and unique insights from numerous elite interviews, the study shows strong support for the hitherto insufficiently tested assumption that popularly elected presidents are more active than their indirectly elected counterparts. This book will be a key resource not only for area specialists but also for scholars of presidential studies, comparative government, and executives.

The book will be introduced by Professor Petra Schleiter (Oxford University) followed by a brief presentation by the author and a Q&A. The launch concludes with a wine and snacks reception in the Masaryk Senior Common Room.

The launch and wine reception are kindly sponsored by the Political Leadership Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association (PSA). The event is hosted jointly by the UCL SSEES Centre for European Politics, Security and Integration and the UCL European Institute.

My first book “Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe” has now been published

My first book Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe has now been published with Palgrave Macmillan as the inaugural volume in its new series ‘Palgrave Studies in Presidential Politics‘. The book is based on my award-winning PhD thesis that I completed at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 2010-2015 and which received the ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics.

The book examines the use of presidential powers in Central and East Europe between 1990 and 2010, focusing on presidential vetoes and the formation of governments. Based on original quantitative data and unique insights into presidential politics gathered through a large number of elite interviews, it provides one of the first comprehensive comparative studies of presidential activism and veto power in Europe.

“Despite the prominence of presidential powers in academic debates, until now only few scholars have tried to analyse and explain how presidential actually use them. My study attempts to fill this gap in the literature and add to our understanding of presidential politics in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems.”

The book has already received praise from established scholars. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Professor of Comparative Politics at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, highlights the originality and scientific rigour of the study: “The book is an inspiration for scholars of comparative government. It has set a new approach of excellence for those seeking to understand presidential activism in democracies across the globe.”

The book is available as hardback and ebook – you can download a flyer here. I would of course also be grateful if you would recommend it to your library. Last, you can watch a short book trailer summarising the book’s key features below.

Jean Blondel Prize award ceremony at the 45th ECPR Joint Sessions, Nottingham

From 25 to 27 April 2017 I am at the 45th ECPR Joint Sessions at the University of Nottingham. On Wednesday, 26 April, I will officially receive the Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics.

Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.

The prize committee highlighted that “the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.”

A revised version of my thesis will be published as a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan as Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe in May 2017.

Special Issue of the Slavonic & East European Review on Innovations in Corruption Studies

The Slavonic and East European Review has published a special issue on Innovations in Corruption studies which I co-edited together with Alena Ledeneva and Roxana Bratu (UCL). The special issue emerges from the FP7 ANTICORRP project in which I worked at UCL from 2014 to 2016 and the seminar series on innovations in corruption studies in Europe and beyond that I convened on behalf of the project group in 2015/2016.

The issue (Vol 95, No. 1) includes a co-authored article on Paradigm Shifts in Corruption Studies that I co-authored with my co-editors as well as contributions by other leading scholars in the field of corruption studies and anti-corruption.

Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics

ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize Winner 2016

I am honoured and excited to announce that my PhD thesisVeto et Peto: Patterns of Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe has been awarded the Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics!

Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book, addressing central themes in the relevant subfield(s) of the discipline. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.

The prize committee highlighted that the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.

At the same time, I am proud to announce that a revised version of my PhD thesis, titled ‘Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe‘ will be published as a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan in 2017. Until then, you can still download and read my original thesis via the UCL Discovery platform. An extended summary is available from my blog presidentialactivism.com.

Review of ‘Gwiazda. 2015. Democracy in Poland’ published in East European Politics

gwiazda 2015 democracy in poland covereep coverMy review of Anna Gwiazda’s book ‘Democracy in Poland. Representation, participation, competition and accountability since 1989’ (Routledge, 2015) has been published in East European Politics. The book provides one of the first comprehensive empirical studies of Polish democracy between 1989 and 2011. You can read the full review here (subscribers only).

Political Methodology Specialist Group Conference, 27 June 2016, London

Today Allan Sikk and I are presenting at the first annual conference of the Political Methodology Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association at University College London. In our presentation, we discuss the challenges of using candidate lists and candidate registers for parliamentary elections as (difficult) big political data (abstract here). You can read more about our research at electoralcandidates.org.

UACES Workshop ‘Crisis and Innovation in the European Union: Beyond Populism and Managerialism’

Crisi and innovation in the EU - warwick workshopOn 13 May I will take part in the workshop ‘Crisis and Innovation in the European Union: Beyond Populism and Managerialism‘ at the University of Warwick. The of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore the impact of ‘crises’ in their material and ideational forms, upon EU institution and policy-making dynamics. Emphasis is also put on identifying policy responses focusing on ‘innovation’ as a strategy. The workshop is funded by the Academic Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES), the British Academy and the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS).
I will present Allan Sikk‘s and my work on corruption and candidate turnover in Central and Eastern Europe and discuss self-regulating mechanisms of parties faced with increasing corruption.

The full workshop programme can be downloaded here.

[Update 18/07/2016] A report from the workshop is now available from the UACES website.

PhD thesis shortlisted for ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016

My PhD thesis ‘Veto et Peto: Patterns of Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe’ has been shortlisted for the ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize. Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration).

Each full ECPR member institution (currently 288) can nominate only one dissertation (usually after an internal contest/selection procedure) which, with revision, could be potentially published as a monograph.

Initial selection is based on a 15-20 page abstract; no more than 5 nominees are included in the short list and then submit a full copy of their thesis for evaluation by the committee. The winner will be announced by 30 September 2016.

You can read my thesis here. I am currently working towards publishing it as a monograph.

Presentation at 66th PSA Annual International Conference, 21-23 March 2016, Brighton, UK

2016 PSA Annual Conference Programme _cover pageAt this year’s annual international conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Brighton (21-23 March 2016), I will present a paper co-authored with Allan Sikk titled ‘Rejuvenation or renomination? Corruption and candidate turnover in Central and Eastern Europe‘. On the basis of our large-scale data set of electoral candidates in Central and Eastern Europe, we test two competing hypotheses on the influence of rising corruption on turnover on  party lists in 8 CEE democracies during the last 20 years. We find that increased levels of corruption lead to a decrease in candidate turnover among governing parties. Turnover in other parties in other parties is best explained by party size.

The paper can be downloaded here.