3rd Leuven-Montréal Winter School on Elections

University of Leuven
Leuven, Belgium
25 February, 2017 - 5 March, 2017

Elections and voting behaviour are central topics in political science. This leads to a large and continuously expanding literature on voters and their behaviour during elections. Almost by definition, this line of research calls for sophisticated research, both from a theoretical and a methodological point of view. Furthermore, methods to investigate these topics are varied and evolving rapidly. The high quality standards in the field imply that there is a need for specific training for PhD students working on these topics. The Leuven-Montréal Winter School addresses this need by offering a program focused on theories and methods in the study of elections and voting behaviour. The Winter School is organized jointly by the universities of Montréal and Leuven, and is based on the expertise of these universities and other well-known scholars on elections and voting behaviour. For an overview of the previous editions, see the websites of the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Winter School.

Audience Doctoral students in political behaviour, elections, political parties and public opinion. Given the fact that we envision intensive interaction between students and professors, we foresee a maximum of 25 participants. Ideally, we will have a mix of junior and more advanced PhD students.


Our aim is to provide students with the core theoretical frameworks and empirical tools in the field of electoral behaviour. Furthermore, we seek to offer a forum where junior scholars can interact and discuss their work with senior scholars in the field. Additionally, students are encouraged to produce high-level research and the feedback received should strengthen the publication potential of their work.


The school consists of 7 days of teaching, with approximately 42 contact hours. The contact hours are comprised of staff lectures, student presentations and seminar discussions.

Lectures in this third edition will be given by Kees Aarts (University of Groningen), Eva Anduiza (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Ruth Dassonneville (Université de Montréal), Elias Dinas (University of Oxford), David Farrell (University College Dublin), Marc Hooghe (University of Leuven), Ann-Kristin Kölln (University of Leuven) and Michael Lewis-Beck (University of Iowa). The following topics will be covered: party leaders, corruption, electoral volatility, electoral systems, voter turnout and election forecasting. The methods day will offer an introduction to causal inference for electoral research.

Students are required to submit a 8,000-word paper before the start of the Winter School (by 10 February 2017 at the latest). The paper can take the form of an empirical study, a theoretical discussion, a review of the literature or a research design. Students will be presenting their paper at one of the afternoon sessions and will receive feedback from other students and one of the leading academics who are teaching at the Winter School. The best student paper will be awarded the 3rd Victor D’Hondt Prize for Electoral Research.

Students are required to attend all sessions and to actively take part in the discussions that follow the presentations of fellow students and senior specialists. Successful participation in the Winter School will be fully accredited (6 ECTS). Additionally, students who require a grade will be evaluated according to the following three requirements; participation in the discussions of the seminar (25%), oral presentation of the student paper (25%), and the quality of the student paper as revised no later than 6 weeks after the end of the course (50%). This revision should reflect the recommendations given during the seminar.


The program fee is €340 and includes lunches, course material and the social program.


Interested students should send an abstract (approximately 500 words) of their proposed paper to election.winter.school@gmail.com by December 1st 2016. Applications should include information on the topic of the students’ dissertation, their affiliation and the name of their supervisor, as well as the date of first enrolment in a PhD program. In addition, applications have to include an indication of students’ quantitative methods skills (e.g., courses taken, software packages used, experience in performing statistical analyses).


The Winter School will take place at the University of Leuven in Belgium. The university was established in 1425, and it combines the tradition of a small and pleasant university town with a drive for scientific excellence. The university is 15 minutes from Brussels international airport. In the most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities in Social Science, it received the 5th place in Europe.


In 2017, the Winter School takes place in Leuven: Huis Bethlehem, room 00.18 – raadzaal Bethlehem Schapenstraat 34 B-3000 Leuven (BELGIUM)