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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Voting Advice Applications: Their Design, Effects, and Use in the Study of Political Behavior

Kostas Gemenis

Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) is the collective name given to the various online tools that citizens can use during election campaigns to compare their public policy preferences with those of political parties and candidates. Notable examples are Stemwijzer in the Netherlands, Wahl-O-Mat in Germany, Smartvote in Switzerland, and Vaalikone in Finland. VAAs have emerged as technological solutions that aim to reduce the information asymmetries inherent among citizens of different educational and income groups with a view to helping them make informed political choices. Despite the popularity of these tools, however, it is not at all clear whether they have achieved their goals. The project aims to study the effects of VAAs on political knowledge, political participation, and voting behavior, and to improve their design in order to increase their effectiveness. It further seeks to advance the study of political behavior more generally, by analyzing the data generated by these tools. The project will involve work on the design and development of a number of Voting Advice Applications in selected countries in cooperation with the PreferenceMatcher consortium. Project duration: October 2018 to September 2021.
Germann, Micha, and Kostas Gemenis. 2019. "Getting Out the Vote with Voting Advice Applications." Political Communication 36 (1): 149-170.
Gemenis, Kostas, Fernando Mendez, and Jonathan Wheatley. 2019. "Helping Citizens to Locate Political Parties in the Policy Space: A Dataset for the 2014 Elections to the European Parliament." Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences, published online March 18, 2019.
Gemenis, Kostas. 2018. "The Impact of Voting Advice Applications on Electoral Turnout: Evidence from Greece." Statistics, Politics and Policy 9 (2): 161-179.
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