Core researches

Hungarian Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) 

The purpose of the Hungarian Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) is to reveal the dynamics of Hungarian public policy by investigating the various public policy and political agendas using quantiative methods.The research takes place at MTA TK Institute for Political Science and is supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA). 

The project adapts the Policy Agendas Project’s public policy content analysis codebook created by Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones to the local environment.The research aims to create a consistent database of defining issues for the actors of Hungarian public policy - such as the parliament, the media, and the public actors. The reliability of the measurements is guaranteed by clearly defined, coherent coding rules, whereby the changes of the government’s priorities can be consistently traced in time and also in areas of the public policy.

Within the framework of CAP research, several databases have been created containing data available for researchers, students, professionals, and public actors.At present, data collected within the framework of the project include:

·         Budgets and Final Accounts between 1991 and 2013

·         Laws

·         Interpellations

·         Urgent Questions

·         Members of Parliament elected between 1990 and 2014

·         Committees of the National Assembly between 1990 and 2014

·         Parties with Members of Parliament between 1990 and 2014

·         Leaders of the National Assembly's caucuses

·         Front page headlines of Magyar Nemzet (a conservative daily) and Népszabadság (a left-liberal daily)

·         Data of Single-Member Districts

·         Governments

Principal investigator: Zsolt Boda

Project leader: Miklós Sebők


Return of the Weberian leaders

Return of the Weberian leaders: plebiscitary leader democracy as a means of cognition for contemporary political trends

(NKFIH project number: K 128139)

The main question of the research is how contemporary developments in liberal democracies (their deconsolidation, the rise of populism) are connected to broader changes of recent decades in the political field and citizens’ political behaviour. The aim is to explore a realist (i.e. being empirically more relevant and carrying more realistic normative expectations) theory of democracy through re-working Weber’s concept of plebiscitary leader democracy (PLD). Empirical evidence about the functioning of contemporary democracies often challenges classical (normative) theories of democracy.

The project is expected to contribute to (1) contemporary debates on regimes, democratic theory as well as normative discourses, (2) empirical political science on both political regimes and current transformations that affect leaders and voters. The project aims to formulate a new conceptual framework of political regimes and to reveal data that shed light on how these regimes work in the midst of the Millennial political trends. On the one hand, the research contributes to the discourse about current populism. On the other hand, its outcome aspires to narrow the gap between democratic theory and empirical realities. As a theoretical and conceptual innovation, the PLD model provides a framework to analyse the conditions of contemporary politics that (a) give leaders opportunity for authoritarian rule with democratic legitimacy and (b) the conditions that give citizens some control over them.

Principal investigator: András Körösényi


JUDICON - Judicial Constraints on Legislation in Central Europe

JUDICON is an international research project that compares the strength of the decisions of the constitutional courts in seven European countries to assess how they constrain the legislatures.

Until now, empirical analyses of judicial behavior have based their findings on a binary approach whether judges found a law constitutional or unconstitutional. JUDICON’s new methodological approach replaces the binary approach with a scale that allows for a more realistic measure of the strength of the decisions of the constitutional courts. JUDICON’s methodology breaks down the decisions of the courts and weighs the elements separately to exceed the binary approach. Our project considers the elements of a decision as options from which a judge or the constitutional court makes up a decision and a reasoning thereby adopting resolutions that constrain the freedom and the room for manoeuvre of the legislature on a different level. In a second phase, the project extends to legislative behavior to explore whether there are congruencies between the positions of the judges and their nominating parties. By this we will check whether the attitudinal model of judicial behavior is applicable on CEE constitutional courts. At the same time we will consider the wider political context and check for the external factors which might lead judges to strategic behavior. By connecting the two parts of the research, JUDICON allows for a systematic comparison of the political dynamics between constitutional courts and legislatures.

A comprehensive volume using the JUDICON methodology and database will be published this autumn at Routledge. The book ‘Constitutional Politics and the Judiciary: Decision-making in Central and Eastern Europe’ edited by Kálmán Pócza includes a detailed description of the approach adopted by the project as well as studies on the practice of the constitutional court of the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.

Principal investigator: Kálmán Pócza


Political communication research project

The Political Communication Research Group was founded in 2005 at the HAS Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Political Science. It conducts theoretical and empirical researches on the following topics: Political communication in Hungary; International tendencies in the political communication; Communication and political theory; Communication and political community, publicity; Political campaigns; Politics and media; Visual communication.

Principal investigator: Balázs Kiss


Populism in policy and law-making

International researches about populism (dominated by Western scholars) have focused on radical or extremist populist parties; the main features of centrist populism and the policy decisions of governing populist policy parties and their implementation have not been explored yet. Studying populism in East-Central European new democracies where populist parties are not atypical in governing position provide an excellent research field to analyse the role of populism in governance and the policy-making process. An expected value-added of this research is the exploration of the impact of populism on the policy-making process and governance in particular. Our approach is not normative; instead we intend to understand the mechanisms through which policy decisions are shaped by populist political actors. This research may have some important theoretical and conceptual contribution to the scholarship on populism by elaborating the nexus between centrist populism and governance through the perspective of the policy-making process. In addition, the expected empirical findings may contribute to our understanding of the policy mechanisms shaped by populist political actors in Central European new democracies.

This research explores the main features of populism in policy-making. It discusses the main motives and policy-making patterns of populist political actors, thus citizens, civil society and media actors may understand the policy process in an appropriate manner when populist actors dominate the political field.

Principal investigator: Zsolt Boda


ESS – EUTE European Social Survey

The European Social Survey is an academically-driven social science project designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations. Research period: Since the beginning of 2001


Project supervisor: Péter Róbert