BIGSSS Best Paper Awards 2023 › view all


And the winners are Michael Richter and Jelisaveta Belić

The BIGSSS Best Paper Awards 2023, endowed with €500 each, go to Michael Richter and Jelisaveta Belić. Congratulations to both!

Michael Richter received this year's single-authored Best Paper Award for his paper on “The Diversity of Actors in Reform Backsliding and Its Containment in the Ukrainian Hybrid Regime.” The paper was published in Politics and Governance this year. See below for the abstract.

Jelisaveta Belić received this year's Best Co-Authored Paper Award for the article “Perceived Value Similarity With Important Others: Well-Being Implications for Emerging Adults”, which is co-authored with Mandy Boehnke and Klaus Boehnke. The papaer was published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2022. See below for the abstract.

The awards were presented at the BIGSSS Meeting of Members on May 17, 2023. This year’s selection committee was composed of Ulrich Kühnen (chair), Sonja Drobnič, Sebastian Haunss, Dora Simunovic, Tanya Keni, and Henriette Bering. On behalf of the selection committee, Dora Simunoviv together with Tanya Keni held the laudatory speech for Michael and Ulrich Kühnen for Jelisaveta Belić all honoring their achievements, excellent pieces of research, their relevance and significant contribution!



Richter, M. M. (2022): The Diversity of Actors in Reform Backsliding and Its Containment in the Ukrainian Hybrid Regime. In Politics and Governance 11 (1).

Numerous studies on democratic backsliding mostly focus on the state executive as a driving force. In contrast, the analysis presented here highlights the role of vested interests as the main actors behind backsliding processes in hybrid regimes. In a focused case study of anti‐corruption reforms in Ukraine, this contribution analyses the initiation of backsliding by these actors through their influence on nominally independent branches of power as well as the subtle takeover of the legislative repair process that followed. The case study is based on original semi‐structured expert interviews and document analysis. The main argument is that the distinct role played by the state executive also substantially changes the interaction between the actors involved. For the case of Ukraine, the study shows that the leverage of Western organisations in conjunction with the expertise and swift reaction of Ukrainian civil society organisations constitute a necessary precondition for the containment of backsliding attempts.


Belic, J.; Boehnke, M.; Boehnke, K. (2022): Perceived Value Similarity With Important Others: Well-Being Implications for Emerging Adults. In Frontiers in psychology 13, p. 716952.

Emerging adults establish, question, and reestablish their values within the most diverse social contexts. Every social context privileges expressing certain values and/or punishes expressing conflicting ones. This makes a similarity between one’s own values and those preferred in one’s life contexts psychologically desirable (person–environment fit). This study focuses on the similarity of individuals’ values with the perceived values of important others from five immediate social contexts, namely, family, friends, intimate partner, study group, and work group, and their relationship with life satisfaction. The sample consisted of emerging adults from Serbia interacting with the five mentioned contexts (N = 479). A mobile app with a game-like survey was launched to collect the data. The data indicated a positive association between life satisfaction and perceived value similarity with one’s family and with one’s intimate partner. Value similarity with friends and study and work colleagues emerged as insignificant. Identity centrality and the general importance of the immediate social contexts were studied as possible moderators. Identity centrality showed no moderation effect, whereas general importance of the intimate partner did: High importance of the intimate partner decreased the positive effect of value similarity on well-being.