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Semi-authoritarian regimes are manipulating elections from Ankara to Yangon, yet they maintain a genuine base of support. To understand the dynamics of the vitality of such regimes, the Institute studies their propaganda, social and media policies, electoral strategies, informal power relations, and actors of influence, producing scholarship relevant for both academics and practitioners. 


Zsolt Enyedi

Lead Researcher / CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

Daniel Bochsler CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor

Matthijs Bogaards

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Associate Professor

András Bozóki

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

Laszlo Bruszt

Co-director / CEU Professor

Erin Kristin Jenne

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

David Karas

Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Janos Kis

Senior Research Fellow / CEU University Professor

Levente Littvay

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

Bálint Madlovics

Junior Research Fellow

Bálint Magyar

Senior Research Fellow

Inna Melnykovska  

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Assistant Professor

Wolfgang Merkel

Senior Research Fellow

Carsten Schneider

CEU Research Affiliate / CEU Professor

Andras Szalai

Research Fellow


Research Projects

Researcher: Andras Szalai

BordEUr: New European Borderlands (Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Networks) 

BordEUr is a collaborative research project of nine universities that documents and assesses the proliferation of new borders in the aftermath of the EU’s recent crises, with a special emphasis on the so-called migration crisis. The project analyzes the symbolic role of borders in ontological narratives (those of both the EU and its member states), as well as the bordering policies that these narratives enable. The Democracy Institute's contribution highlights the role borders play in rightwing populists’ securitizing discourses, and how these discourses can advance de-democratization. 

The Comparative Populism Project

Researchers: Erin Kristin Jenne, Levente Littvay

The Comparative Populism Project, funded by a CEU Intellectual Themes Initiative (ITI) grant, consists of a database of holistically graded speeches by chief executives of more than 30 countries in Europe and North America from the early 2000s to present, covering 128 leader terms. The database contains manually coded speeches for the presence of populist, nationalist, and social conservative discourses. Going forward, we intend to offer public access to what may be the largest speech databases in the world. 

Team Populism

Researchers: Erin Kristin Jenne, Levente Littvay

Through our membership in the inter-university Team Populism, we bring together the methodological skills and perspectives of a global network of populism scholars to arrive at a multi-faceted understanding of why populism manifests more strongly in some countries or leader terms than others, why some chief executives employ social conservativism or more nationalist/nativist than others, and investigate the influence of these discourses on foreign policy, public administration and party systems.  

Towards a Set of Indicies for Patronalism

Researchers: Balint Magyar, Balint Madlovics

The project builds on the book The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes: A Conceptual Framework (Budapest-New York: CEU Press, 2020) published by Balint Magyar and Balint Madlovics. The book introduces a new descriptive language for post-communist regimes, identifiying them as patronal regimes which are characterized by a dominance of informal structures. However, traditional data collection records formal relations, where de jure and de facto structures of ownership and disposition coincide. The aim of our project is to construct an index, or rather a set of various indices for countries where that is not the case, and therefore to map out the extent of informal patronal phenomena in post-communist economies. The indices would also make data collection in, and subsequent analysis and comparison of, different countries in a uniform method possible.

Erin K. Jenne et al.: Mapping Populism and Nationalism in Leader Rhetoric Across North America and Europe

“Neither populism nor nationalism is on the rise across Europe and North America over the past twenty years; instead, the rise is concentrated in sub-regions and specific countries,” our Research Affiliate Erin K. Jenne, and co-authors Kirk A. Hawkins and Bruno Castanho Silva write in their article published in Studies in Comparative International Development.

Andras Bozoki on the New Anti-LGBTQ Legislation in Hungary

"The law takes Russia and Poland as an example," our Research Affiliate Andras Bozoki said to Deutsche Welle about the new anti-LGBTQ legislation in Hungary.

HVG Reviews Book of Balint Magyar and Balint Madlovics

HVG, the most trusted Hungarian newspaper, published in its print version a review about The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes, the book of our Senior Research Fellow Balint Magyar and Junior Research Fellow Balint Madlovics.

Attitudes Towards Technocracy and Populism: New Project Approved

the proposal of Bernhard Wessels, Alex Trechsel and our Research Affiliate Levente Littvay for the inclusion of populism and technocracy attitude items in the European Social Survey's online panel CRONOS-2 has been accepted.

The Parliamentary Elites in Latin America (PELA) Project

Saskia Ruth-Lovell and Steven Van Hauwaert discuss elite surveys and how they can be utilized to measure populism.

The PopuList

Matthijs Rooduijn introduces and discusses his co-authored project, which classifies (amongst others) radical and populist parties on the left and the right. He shows us around the website and explain how we can use the data.

Wolfgang Merkel on Moralizing and Morality

“Society endangers itself when it gives up the pursuit of pluralism,” our Senior Research Fellow Wolfgang Merkel writes in his op-ed published in Der Tagesspiegel.

The Populism and Political Parties Expert Survey

Steven Van Hauwaert talks to Maurits Meijers about his collaborative project with Andrej Zaslove, where they map and measure parties' populism.

The Conceptualization and Measurement of Populist Attitudes

Levente Littvay has a conversation with Alex Wuttke about his 2020 APSR article "When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: On the conceptualization and measurement of populist attitudes and other multidimensional constructs" (w/ Christian Schimpf and Harold Schoen).

An Empirical Comparison of Seven Populist Attitudes Scales

Levente Littvay has a conversation with Bruno Castanho Silva about the development of their Populism Scale and PRQ article "An Empirical Comparison of Seven Populist Attitudes Scales" (2020).