The recipient of this year's DSPS Outstanding Dissertation Award is Dániel Kovarek. The award is a recognition to dissertations from the PhD in Political Science that stand out because of their originality and academic rigor.
Dániel's dissertation is titled "Distributive Politics as Behavioral Localism: Local Ties as Heuristics for Public Goods Allocation and Bureaucratic Oversight". The three papers in the dissertation show creative and innovative work, one of them has already been published in the journal Research & Politics.
About the dissertation, Dániel's supervisor, Dr. Levente Littvay, says: "the dissertation is a significant contribution to the state of the art. It takes behavioral localism, a theme that has always interested Dániel, and digs down into the mechanistic explanations not yet established in the literature. The chapters highlight the candidate’s strengths in research methodology, original research designs, and also their deep-seated interest in Hungarian politics cleverly utilized as a case study of phenomena with broader interest. His quality of writing, a rare skill in the social sciences, also shines through. Implicitly, the work also points to the candidate’s grit not to shy away from good, but difficult to study research questions".
Dr. Zsófia Papp (Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest) says that while the dissertation takes Hungary as a case, the results can be relevant for audiences with interests beyond the Hungarian context: "It addresses questions that target current gaps in our general scholarly understanding of why the legislators’ or candidates’ localness is an advantage in the elections, and how voters use candidate localness as a heuristic".