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Personal Information
College Photo Name Benoit, Kenneth Richard
Main Department Political Science
College Title Professor - Quantitative Social Sciences
College Tel  
Fax +353 1 677 0546
Kenneth Benoit is currently Professor of Quantitative Social Sciences and Head, Department of Political Science, at Trinity College, University of Dublin. He received his Ph.D. (1998) from Harvard University, Department of Government. Professor Benoit's substantive research interests include comparative party competition, the European Parliament, electoral systems, and transitions to democracy. Much of his recent work involves estimating the electoral effects of campaign spending. He is also a leading specialist on Hungarian elections and the Hungarian electoral system. His methodological interests include statistical methodologies for the social sciences, especially those relating to measurement and quantitative text analysis. Recent data large-scale measurement projects in which he has been involved include estimating policy positions of political parties through expert surveys, manifesto coding, and text analysis. He also work occasionally as a consultant for political parties, governmental organizations, and media for all business related to elections, especially computer modeling and forecasting of election outcomes.
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Midwest Political Science Association 1998 present
Political Studies Association of Ireland
American Political Science Assocation 1993 present
Awards and Honours
Award Date
APSA Best Research Web Site Award 1999
Government of Ireland Research Fellowship 2002-2003
APSA Best Research Software Award 1998
Government of Ireland Research Scholarship, Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2006-2007
Small Project Grant, Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2008-2010
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Fluent Basic Basic
Hungarian Medium Basic Fluent
Description of Research Interests
I am interested in statistical methodology for the social sciences, surveys of expert judgments, computerized content analysis, statistical forecasting of election results, and the quantitative analysis of political party competition. My other research in interests include the effects of campaign finances and comparative electoral systems.
Research Interests
Constituency Boundaries: Ireland Constitutuency Boundaries: UK & Northern Ireland Dynamic Models of Government EU Politics
Eastern Europe Econometric and statistical analysis Electoral systems Globalisation
Hungary Elections Hungary: Electoral System Hungary: Political Parties Irish Political Parties
Irish politics, election study, electoral behaviour Legislative Institutions Party and government formation Political Campaign Finance
Political Campaign Spending Political parties Statistical and simulation methodologies
Research Projects
Project title Globalisation and Party Competition
Summary To investigate the effects of European integration processes on national political party competition.
Funding Agency IIIS, Trinity College
Programme Research Projects
Type of Project
Date from 2004
Date to 2006
Person Months

Project title Comparative Models of Spatial Competition
Summary To estimate political party positions on numerous policy dimensions in 47 countries plus the European Parliament, using paper and web-based surveys of political experts.
Funding Agency IIIS, Trinity College
Programme Research Projects
Type of Project
Date from 2002
Date to 2004
Person Months

Project title The application of computerized content analysis tools to extract commerically valuable information automatically from texts.
Summary This project develops a method known as "Wordscores" to extract information from texts using words as data, employing computerized implementations of statistical methods.
Funding Agency Enterprise Ireland
Programme Proof of Concept
Type of Project
Date from Feb 2004
Date to Feb 2005
Person Months 12

Project title Domestic Structures of European Integration
Summary To study the political processes of European Constitution-building.
Funding Agency European Commission
Programme Fifth Framework
Type of Project
Date from 2002
Date to 2005
Person Months

Project title World Database of Parties, Elections, and Governments
Summary The objective is to create a major infrastructural resource for empirical, comparative social science research: a single, inter-linked database of parties, legislatures, elections, election manifestos, governments, and cabinet portfolios, useful for a very wide range of applications in political science, political economy, and policy analysis. Currently in this core research area, there is a proliferation of different, often inconsistent, datasets, with different domains in terms of country coverage, time period, unit of analysis, different sets of labels, different conventions for defining parties and government, different levels of granularity, etc. The typical researcher must expend enormous resources simply gathering, assembling, and cleaning the necessary data, with the cost directly scaling with the scope of the empirical analysis. Differences in results between researchers, furthermore, may simply be attributable to differences between datasets used. My proposal would aim to eliminate this cost and inconsistency by assembling, in a single dynamic resource accessible on the Internet, a world database of political parties, elections, and governments that would include all of the most important cross-national, time-series data on these topics. The data source would have four principal advantages over existing resources. First, it would unite and reconcile currently separate sources of data in a single database. Second, it would standardize codes for countries, parties, and governments in an open format that would become an industry standard for cross- national data analysis. Third, unlike all existing cross-national datasets which are static and flat-file, it would be stored in a relational database accessible through a Web interface, that would allow dynamic and flexible construction of end-user datasets according to each userís needs, blending results from different data sources and outputting a data file with the appropriate structure for the research task at hand. Finally, because of its dyanamic and open structure, once created it would be updateable.
Funding Agency Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Programme Small Project Grant
Type of Project Research
Date from 2008
Date to 2010
Person Months 24

Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Kenneth Benoit and Michael Marsh, 'The Campaign Value of Incumbency: A New Solution to the Puzzle of Less Effective Incumbent Spending, American Journal of Political Science, 52, (4), 2008, p874 - 890
Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, ``Benchmarks for Text Analysis: A Reply to Budge and Pennings.'', Electoral Studies, 26, 2007, p130 - 135
Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, ``Estimating party policy positions: Comparing expert surveys and hand coded content analysis.'' , Electoral Studies, 26, 2007, p90 - 107
Benoit, Kenneth, Daniela Giannetti, and Michael Laver, ``Voter Strategies with Restricted Choice Menus.'', British Journal of Political Science, 36, 2006, p459 - 485
Benoit, Kenneth, ``Duverger's Law and the Study of Electoral Systems.'' , French Politics, 4, (1), 2006, p69 - 83
Notes: [ ]
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Last Updated:23-SEP-2014