BIGSSS Best Paper Awards 2019 › view all


Congratulations to John Berten and Lara Minkus!

The BIGSSS Best Paper Awards 2019, endowed with €500 each, go to John Berten and Lara Minkus. Congratulations!

John Berten (Field A) received this year’s Best Single-Authored Paper Award for "Failed Indicatorisation: Defining, Comparing and Quantifying Social Policy in the ILO’s International Survey of Social Services of the Interwar Period" (for abstract and paper access, please see below).


Lara Minkus (Field B) received this year's Best Co-Authored Paper Award for "A Trump Effect on the EU’s Popularity: The U.S. Presidential Election as a Natural Experiment" with co-authors BIGSSS alumnus Emanuel Deutschmann and Jan Delhey (for abstract and paper access, please see below).


The awards were presented at the BIGSSS Meeting of Members on April 10th, 2019.

This year’s committee was composed of faculty members Heiko Pleines, Ewa Kaminska and Steffen Bandlow-Raffalski and PhD fellows Yulia Khalikova, Simone Tonelli and Rocco Paolillo.

The laudatory speeches were held by Rocco Paolillo and Heiko Pleines, honoring the achievements of these excellent pieces of research. The committee was especially impressed with the societal relevance of both papers as well as their analytical clarity, explanatory value and empirical foundation.

This truly sounds like a great read! Great job, John and Lara, and everyone else who submitted their papers. Let’s keep up the good work and we hope to receive even more excellent submissions for the next Best Paper Awards.


Abstract "Failed Indicatorisation" by John Berten

Despite social policy being one of the most quantified policy fields today, there is no singular indicator or set of indicators of social policy quality or performance on the global level that is universally accepted and influential, comparable to GDP in the economy. The article analyses and explains the unsuccessful indicatorisation in the ILO’s International Survey of Social Services of the interwar years. During this first elaborate study of social policies worldwide by an international organisation, difficult issues of defining, comparing, and quantifying social policy had to be solved for the first time. Theoretically, a sociology of knowledge approach on indicatorisation is utilised that highlights how social policy was questioned and evaluated. This illustrates the demanding work of comparing including a politicized knowledge production, identifying conditions and hindrances of defining and quantifying the 'social'. It is observed that different interests of participants, epistemic cultures, and practices, as well as bureaucratic procedures resulted in the mere inclusion of a provisional indicator of cost and little quantified data in the final Survey. Empirically, the article relies on an in-depth analysis of historical ILO documents.

The article "Failed Indicatorisation" can be accessed via the SSOAR website.


Abstract "A Trump Effect on the EU's Popularity?" by Lara Minkus, Emanuel Deutschmann and Jan Delhey

Did the election of Donald Trump affect the popularity of the European Union (EU) in Europe? Theoretically, both a positive rally effect (due to a perceived external threat) and a negative domino effect (due to resignation among Europhiles and/or reinforcement among europhobe nationalists) are plausible. We treat Trump’s unexpected victory as an external shock and use a Eurobarometer survey that was conducted in all EU-28 member states four days prior to (control group) and six days after the election (treatment group) as source material for a natural experiment. The analysis reveals that the election of Trump caused a significant increase in the EU’s popularity in Europe immediately after the election. This “Trump effect” is considerable in size, roughly equivalent to three years of education. Gains in popularity were particularly high among respondents who perceived their country as economically struggling and, surprisingly, among the political right, suggesting that Trump’s victory broadened and ideologically diversified the EU’s base of support.

The article "A Trump Effect on the EU's Popularity?" can be accessed via the Cambridge University Press Journal Perspectives on Politics website.