4th Leuven-Montréal Winter School on Elections

4th Leuven-Montréal Winter School on Elections


In collaboration with the

Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)


Supported by the

ECPR Standing Group on
Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective


The Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship

3 March – 10 March 2017, Montréal (Canada)


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.


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 fourth edition will be given André Blais (Université de Montréal), Donald Green (Columbia University), Allison Harell (Université du Québec à Montréal), Shane Singh (University of Georgia), Zeynep Somer-Topcu (University of Texas at Austin), Laura Stephenson (Western University), and Elizabeth Zechmeister (Vanderbilt University). The following topics will be covered: compulsory voting, ethnicity and the vote,  party strategies, partisanship, strategic voting, and voting in Latin America. The methods day will offer an introduction to experimental research for studying voting behaviour.

Students are required to submit a 8,000-word paper before the start of the Winter School (by February 16th 2018 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 4th 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 470 CAD 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 2017. 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 in Montréal (Canada). Montréal is a bilingual city (French and English), rich in both history and culture (notably arts, food, and music). At the time of the Winter School, the season’s harshest temperatures are usually a thing of the past, but a lot of snow and temperatures around the freezing point should be expected.


In 2018, the Université de Montréal hosts the Winter School.


Department of Political Science

Lionel-Groulx Building

3150 rue Jean-Brillant

Montréal QC


Google maps link to the venue


Organizing committee

André Blais (Université de Montréal)

Ruth Dassonneville (Université de Montréal)

Patrick Fournier (Université de Montréal)

Marc Hooghe (University of Leuven)

Sofie Marien (University of Leuven)


More information

Day-to-day schedule

Friday March 2

Evening Opening reception

Saturday March 3

Morning Allison Harell – Ethnicity and elections
Afternoon Student papers

Sunday March 4

Morning Donald Green – Experimental research and elections
Afternoon Student papers

Monday March 5

Morning Zeynep Somer-Topcu – Parties’ strategies to win elections
Afternoon Student papers

Tuesday March 6

Morning Elizabeth Zechmeister – The Latin American voter
Afternoon Student papers

Wednesday March 7

No class – Social program

Thursday March 8

Morning Laura Stephenson – Partisanship and the vote
Afternoon Student papers

Friday March 9

Morning André Blais – Strategic voting
Afternoon Student papers

Saturday March 10

Morning Shane Singh – The effects of compulsory voting beyond turnout
Afternoon Student papers
Evening Certificates, winner of the 4th Victor D’Hondt prize, and reception.


A pdf version of the full programme of the 4th edition of the winter school can be found here.


This content has been updated on 3 March 2018 at 9 h 50 min.