Constrained Democracy: Citizens' Responses to Limited Political Choice in the European Union

Constrained Democracy: Citizens’ Responses to Limited Political Choice in the European Union (EUDEMOS) is a five-year project led by Professor Sara Hobolt and funded by the European Research Council

The EUDEMOS project studies how the political choices offered to citizens shape democratic perceptions and electoral behaviour in Europe. Political choice is central to the functioning of electoral democracy. The competition between political parties serves to reveal and aggregate voters’ preferences such that governments are responsive to citizens. Equally, a party system that restricts the choices offered by parties risks suppressing the preferences and interests of the people. To examine the effect of political choice on citizens’ attitudes and behaviour, the project uses a combination of large-N cross-national and time-series analysis, case studies and experimental methods.

Principal investigator 

Hobolt-Sara 200x200

Professor Sara Hobolt is the Sutherland Chair in European Institutions at the European Institute and the Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, an Associate Member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and Chair of the European Election Studies

Postdoctoral researchers

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Dr Julian Hoerner is a LSE Fellow in EU Politics at the European Institute, London School of Economics. He completed his PhD at the London School of Economics.

Toni Rodon-Casarramona 200x200

Dr Toni Rodon is a postdoctoral research officer at the European Institute. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. He completed his PhD in Political Science in the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona).

Other collaborators

Dr Sebastian Barfort, economist and data scientist (previously EUDEMOS postdoctoral fellow).

Professor Catherine E. De Vries, Professor of Politics at the University of Essex.

Dr Hector Solaz, Senior Research Officer at ESSEXLab at the University of Essex.

Professor James Tilley, Professor of Politics & Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford

Papers and publications

Published papers

Hobolt, Sara and Tilley, James (2016) Fleeing the centre: the rise of challenger parties in the aftermath of the Euro crisis, West European Politics, 39 (5): 971-991

Rodon, Toni; Guinjoan, Marc (2018) When the context matters: Identity, secession and the spatial dimension in Catalonia, Political Geography, 63: 75-87

Working papers

Hobolt, Sara; Hoerner, Julian; Rodon, Toni. Having a Say or Getting Your Way? Political Choice and Satisfaction with Democracy.

Hobolt, Sara; Hoerner, Julian. The Mobilizing Effect of Political Choice.

Hobolt, Sara; Rodon, Toni; Solaz, Hector. Expressive Political Choice.

Hobolt, Sara; Rodon, Toni. When Europe becomes the deciding factor:  Evidence from a conjoint experiment

Barfort, Sebastian; Hobolt, Sara. Labor Market Competition and Opposition to Immigration.

Book manuscript

Hobolt, Sara; de Vries, Catherine E. Challenger Parties. The Transformation of Party Competition in Europe.


Hoerner, Julian; Hobolt, Sara (2017) The AfD succeeded in the German election by mobilising non-voters on the right. LSE EUROPP blog

Events and conferences

Organized workshops

In October 2017 we organised the workshop The Changing Landscape of Political Choice in Europe. The conference brought together leading scholars of political behaviour, party competition and political economy to examine the emergence of new salient political cleavages and the electoral successes of populist parties on right and the left of the political spectrum.

Explore the conference website here.

Conferences, seminars, workshops

European Political Science Association (EPSA) conference: 2016, 2017, 2018

American Political Science Association (APSA)—Annual meeting: 2016, 2017, 2018

Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA)—Annual meeting: 2017

Elections, Parties, and Public Opinion in a Volatile World: A Comparative Perspective. Mannheim (Germany). 10 November 2017. 


Professor Sara Hobolt
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE