Best Thesis Award: Results

The selection committee considered eleven excellent contestants. All eleven theses were strong pieces of research, with a good fit with the EPS focus and objectives, sound methodology and original contribution to our understanding of European politics and society. The committee made sure its decision was not affected by the slightly different standards for theses at partner universities, particularly in terms of word count.

The 2021 EPS Best Thesis Award is to be shared between two winners: 

Ludovica Maria Chieppa 

with a thesis titled 

Gender equality and attitudes toward immigrants in Europe: a cross-national analysis and 

Gaston Rieder 

with a thesis titled 

Challenges to government formation in Western European parliamentary democracies (1980-2019)

Ludovica Maria Chieppa’s research addresses a highly relevant and topical societal issue. She focuses on the gender dimension of anti-immigrant attitudes in Europe. The thesis identifies a highly relevant research gap in the existing literature, which is presented in a clear and critical manner. The author has managed to connect several streams of relevant methodologies and translate it into a clear research question and design. The selection of variables and their operationalisation is extensively justified and well explained. The committee commends the thesis for pushing the boundaries of our knowledge, its societal relevance, excellent connection to the literature and thorough discussion of the research design.

Gaston Rieder’s research focuses on the contemporary changes in the party systems in Western Europe and seeks to explain how they affected the duration of the government formation process. The thesis is highly relevant to the EPS programme and addresses a clearly defined gap in the literature. It employs an impressive dataset and very advanced
methodological technique, that are presented and defined in an excellent manner. The committee commends the thesis for its rigorous and impressive methodological approach, clear and concise communication and relevant contribution to the academic literature.

The selection committee has also agreed that an honourable mention should be awarded to Wouter Brons for his thesis titled “The birth of homonationalism: An analysis of the development of Dutch homonationalism 1990-2002”. The committee commends the thesis for an exemplary interdisciplinary approach and original contribution to the theoretical understanding of homonationalism. It has shown an exceptional ability to analyse research approaches at a meta-level.