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Rudolf Wildenmann Prize


Rudolf WildenmannThe Rudolf Wildenmann Prize is awarded annually to an early career scholar (before PhD or within five years of receiving their PhD) in recognition of an outstanding Paper presented at the Joint Sessions of Workshops. This can be a co-authored Paper, under certain circumstances. The award for this prize is €1,000.



Nominations are accepted from the last day of the Joint Sessions of Workshops

Nomination information will be sent directly to Workshop Directors, who are welcome to nominate ONE Paper from their Workshop for this prize.

Nominations open: Friday 29 March 2024
Nominations close: 30 April 2024


  • Nominees must work or study at any ECPR Member institution
  • Nominees must be pre-PhD or within 5 years of receiving it
  • Co-authored papers are permitted, under the following conditions:
    • The majority of authors are from Member institutions
    • All co-authors are pre-PhD or within 5 years, or
    • If a senior scholar is involved, it is clarified that the junior/s took the leading role.


  • Self-nominations are not accepted
  • Candidates holding roles with the ECPR as EC Members, Director, or Editors will not be considered
  • Workshop directors are not eligible


This prize is judged by a jury consisting of members of our Executive Committee and editors of some of our journals. The 2024 prize jury consists of a representative from each of the below:

Further questions? Email 


2023 – Kathleen Brown, Leiden University

Kathleen Brown 2023 winner

IMF survival instincts: risk exposure and the design of loan programs 

Kathleen's paper investigates how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adjusts its lending decisions to governments in financial distress. It suggests that the IMF's risk exposure influences loan generosity and conditions. When more loans are at risk, the IMF offers smaller loans with stricter conditions to protect itself. The study introduces a new risk exposure index and demonstrates how the IMF adapts its lending behaviour to maintain financial stability and safeguard its balance sheet. These findings reveal the impact of IMF self-preservation goals on sovereign lending and international organisation policies.

From our Jury The jury particularly appreciated the historical breadth and the methodological rigor in this Paper, as well as the systematic presentation of the results. Kathleen challenges the traditional literature by testing the attribution of IMF loans to 123 countries across 30 years. She shows the causal relationship between rising risk exposure of the IMF and the impact on countries and global governance. It is, as one of the jury members underlined a 'timeless and timely article at the same time.

To celebrate Kathleen's achievement, we have created this short video with Kathleen, the Jury Chair Sabine Saurugger, and Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir, who, along with Mirko Heinzel, directed the Workshop Resourcing International Organizations and nominated Kathleen for the prize. 

2022 – Nir Kosti, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Nir Kosti 2022 winner

Conceptualization and Measurement of Regulatory Discretion: Text Analysis of 120 Years of British Legislation 

Nir's paper introduces and measures regulatory discretion in the British legislation between 1900 and 2020. Measuring regulatory discretion through Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, he observes the rise of the British regulatory state and its uniqueness from a legislative text perspective.

The findings illustrate how powers have been delegated and formalised in the UK throughout the years. Rather than rigidly restricting regulatory powers, he argues that constraints on regulatory powers were imposed especially using permissive content provisions that formalise discretion while maintaining relatively high levels of it.

From our Jury 'The jury particularly appreciated the methodological rigor in this paper as well as the systematic presentation of the results ...The study opens important questions which will have further repercussions for comparative political science on the transformation of the regulatory state.'

To celebrate Nir's achievement, we have created this short video with Nir, our Jury Chair Sabine Saurugger, and Giulia Bazzan of the University of Copenhagen, who, along with Alessia Damonte, directed the Workshop Rules as Data and nominated Nir for the prize. 

2021 – Paul Meiners, University of Münster

Paul Meiners 2021 winner

Information and Motivation – How Do Attitudes towards International Organizations Develop?

Paul's paper seeks to identify the factors that shape citizens’ attitudes towards International Organizations.

He employs experimental techniques based on a preregistered factorial survey experiment using a large sample of the German population, and shows that the effortful reflexive reasoning determines citizens’ attitudes more than partisanship.

From our Jury 'This synthetic design, rigorous and novel theorizing and cutting-edge methodological setup convinced the jury that Paul's paper makes an excellent contribution to the literature on the relationship between public opinion and international organizations..'

To celebrate Paul's achievement, we have created this short video with Paul, the Chair of our jury Sabine Saurugger, and with one of Paul's Workshop Directors and nominators, Tobias Lenz, to capture and share this special moment with our community.


This prize was not awarded in 2020 due to disruptions to the Joint Sessions.

2019 – Tobias Widmann, European University Institute

Tobias Widmann 2019 winner

How Emotional Are Populists Really? Factors Determining Explicity Emotional Appeals in Political Communication

Tobias' Paper tackles this question by analysing explicit appeals to four discrete emotions in the communication of political parties in two European countries.

His study applies an automated text-as-data approach to more than 76,000 tweets and 24,000 press releases, and exploits those countries' elections to apply difference-in-difference strategies, estimating the effect of electoral success on populist radical right parties' emotional appeals.

From our Jury 'Tobias's article makes important contribution to the existing scholarly literature on populist political communication. We consider it to be original, relevant, theoretically sound, and based on impressive use of rich empirical data. The article is well constructed and focused, and the methodology of the Paper is well elaborated.'

2018 – Philipp Lutz, University of Bern

Philipp Lutz

Dynamic Partisan Effects in Migration

Philipp's Paper analyses the effects of partisanship on migration policies over time. Immigration is commonly considered a cross-cutting issue which divides mainstream parties internally. However, given the increased politicisation of the issue in electoral competition and the subsequent realignment of West European party systems, one would expect increasing partisan divides with more distinct policies between left- and right-wing governments. Over the same time, economic globalisation and political internationalisation have increasingly limited the policy space for national governments. Philipp’s article tests the politicisation and the globalisation hypothesis with a cabinet-based dataset of migration policy changes from 1980 to 2014 across 18 West European countries.

From our Jury 'The theme of Philipp’s Paper is topical, with broad relevance to the concerns of the discipline, and it makes an important contribution to existing scholarly literature on the dynamics of partisan influence in migration policy. Philipp’s Paper is focused, methodologically strong, and well written and constructed. His conclusions suggest a rich vein of research for future exploration.’

2017 – Dorothee Riese, Leipzig University

Dorothee Riese

Negotiating Secrecy: How Parliament and Executive Debate the Possibilities and Limits of Executive Secrecy

The jury felt that Dorothee’s Paper stood out for its original but difficult topic, and for its effective combination of theoretical depth and careful empirical analysis.

In her Paper, Dorothee discusses the difficult relation between democracy and secrecy. Democracy requires information to be able to travel without limits. Yet secrecy can be required for attaining certain democratic goals, such as the respect for privacy, the secrecy of the ballot, confidentiality in deliberations or classified information in national security issues. The central question of the Paper is: How can secrecy be reconciled with democracy?

2016 – Viviane Gravey, Queen's University Belfast

Viviane Gravey

Environmental Policy Dismantling in the EU: Disintegration by Stealth or Saviour of Integration?

Viviane wants to answer the question of whether the environmental ambition of the EU is being reduced and – if that is the case – which forces are driving this change. Her focus is on policy dismantling, a process that has so far been widely analyzed, but mainly at the domestic level and often only in relation to redistribute policies. She puts forward an analytical framework, adapted from Bauer & Knill’s model for the analysis of domestic dismantling, and carefully makes it travel to the analysis of dismantling at the EU level by taking explicitly into account its consensual, multi-level and also contested nature.

This adapted framework is subsequently applied to three cases studies of environmental policy dismantling in the EU, allowing her to see clearly which actors have been using which strategies and which effects this has produced. Viviane also shows how efforts of policy dismantling in the EU are interconnected with the broader debate on the future forms and degree of European integration.

From our Jury 'Viviane’s Paper is without any doubt a very nice example of careful theoretical reasoning, combined with solid empirical research and very intelligent model-building.'

2015 – Carina Schmitt, University of Bremen

Carina Schmitt

The Legacy of Colonialism: The Origins of Social Security in Developing Countries

From our Jury ‘The Paper explores the evolution of social security in the largely neglected area of developing countries, analysing the long term impact of colonialism on social security systems in about 70 British and French former colonies. The research, conducted in a very rigorous and original way, employs an adequate technique of event history analysis.

The main findings of the Paper, based on robust empirical evidence and clearly presented to the reader, support the central hypothesis that social security systems in former colonies have been highly influenced by colonial relationships.

All in all, Carina provides a very good example of longitudinal research based on quantitative analyses, and a stimulating contribution to the development of comparative policy analysis, within a relevant policy domain, in a truly global perspective.’

2014 – Michal Parízek, Charles University in Prague

Michal Parizek

International Organisations' Quest for Information: The Politics of Secretariat Staffing

Taking the principal-agent approach as his tool, Michal analyses how international institutions work and how they are controlled by their secretariats.

He presents a clear and intuitive observation that powerful member states control the staff of international organisations and in this way attempt to minimise delegation costs by aligning the interests and views of their agents with their own.

2013 – Sebastian Ziaja, University of Essex and German Development Institute

Sebastian Ziaja

Diversity Trumps Quantity:
Types of foreign aid, donor fragmentation and democratisation 

Sebastian's Paper investigates the influence of foreign aid fragmentation on democracy in recipient countries, distinguishing between the effects of aid fragmentation in general and aid fragmentation of democracy assistance.

It argues that the former is detrimental to democratisation, confirming previous findings, while the latter is beneficial.

Sebastian finds that diverse democracy aid has beneficial effects on the institutional setup in the recipient country by providing more options for local actors to choose from.

This work goes beyond the analysis of foreign aid effectiveness and contributes to the study of democratisation, particularly to the debate on pluralism in young democracies.

2012 – Jack Blumenau, University of Oxford

Jack Blumenau

Agenda Control and Party Cohesion in the European Parliament

From our Jury 'Jack considered exhaustively every aspect of the topic, adapting to the study of the European Parliament the Cartel Agenda Model of Cox and McCubbins, which emphasises the importance of negative agenda-setting powers to majority parties as a method of party member control.

By means of the Median Party Agenda Model, he concludes that the party that takes the median position in the European Parliament tends to be highly cohesive and avoids divisive aspects of the legislative agenda.'

2011 – Armen Hakhverdian, University of Amsterdam

Armen Hakhverdian

The Causal Flow between Public Opinion and Policy

2010 – Abel Escribà-Folch

Abel Escriba-Folch

Authoritarian Responses to Foreign Policy Pressure: Spending, Repressions and Sanctions

2009 – Johannes Lindvall

Johannes Lindvall   Coalition Governments and Reform Capacity

2008 – Imke Harbers

Imke Harbers

Decentralization as a Condition of Party System Nationalization:
Evidence from Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe

2007 – Rune Stubager

Rune Stubager

The Development of the Education Cleavage at the Electoral Level in Denmark:
A Dynamic Analysis

2006 – Kasper M. Hansen

Kasper M. Hansen

The Equality Paradox of Deliberative Democracy:
Evidence from a National Deliberative Poll

2005 – Martin Hering

Retrenchment without Retribution:
The Importance of Party Collusion in Blame Avoidance

2004 – Lesley Hustinx

Lesley Hustinx

Beyond the Tyranny of the New?
An Explanatory Model of Styles of Flemish Red Cross Volunteering

2003 – Zsolt Enyedi

Zsolt Enyedi

Cleavage Formation in Hungary:
A New Look at Group Formation Processes

2002 – José Fernández-Albertos

Jose Fernandez-Albertos

Why Is There No Compensation? 
Trade Liberalization in Latin America, 1975–1995

2001 – Hanna Bäck

Hannah Baeck

Coalition Formation and the Inclusion of Green Parties in Swedish Local Government