Research

Publications and work in progress:

New publications and forthcoming articles

Ceka, Besir and Pedro C. Magalhães (forthcoming). “Are the Rich and the Poor Equally Committed to Liberal Democracy? Socioeconomic Status, Inequality, and the Political Status Quo.” Comparative Politics. [PDF]

Abstract

In this study, we investigate how socioeconomic status is related to people’s commitment to liberal democracy. Based on sociological and psychological theories of social conflict and dominance, we argue that those who enjoy a more privileged position in the social hierarchy tend to develop stronger preferences for the existing social and political order. Conversely, people in underprivileged positions tend to be less supportive of that order. Hence, we expect the relationship between socioeconomic status and commitment to liberal democracy to be context-specific: positive in liberal democracies but negative in autocracies. Furthermore, we argue that income inequality amplifies these dynamics, widening the gap between low and high status individuals. We test our hypotheses using the 5th wave of the World Value Surveys.


Ceka, Besir and Andrew J. O’Geen (forthcoming). “Evaluating Student Performance on Computer-Based versus Hand-Written Exams: Evidence from a Field Experiment in the Classroom.” PS: Political Science & Politics. [PDF]

Abstract

The use of course management software such as Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas has become ubiquitous at all levels of education in the United States. One potentially useful feature of these products is the ability for instructors to administer assessments like quizzes and tests, which are flexible, easy to customize, quick and efficient to grade. While computer-based assessments offer clear advantages, instructors might worry about their effect on student performance. This paper evaluates whether student performance differs between hand-written and computer-based exams through a randomized field experiment conducted in a research methods course. Overall our findings suggest a significant improvement in student performance on computer-based exams that is driven primarily by the relative ease of producing thorough responses on the computer versus by hand.


Ceka, Besir. 2018. “Macedonia: A New Beginning?” Journal of Democracy 29 (2): 143–57. [PDF]

Abstract

Beginning in 2015, Macedonia has suffered great instability and political intrigue due to a wiretapping scandal that exposed staggering state capture and authoritarian practices by the then-ruling VMRO-DPMNE party. This article puts current events in the broader historical context of Macedonia’s postcommunist experience. It argues that Macedonia’s political life has revolved around two basic questions: Who are the Macedonians, and to whom does Macedonia belong? Both within and beyond the country’s borders, these questions are deeply contested, and this has led to a dominance of identity politics at the expense of good governance and democratic consolidation.


Peer-reviewed articles

Ares, Macarena, Besir Ceka and Hanspeter Kriesi. 2016. “Diffuse Support for the European Union: Spillover Effects of the Politicization of the European Integration Process at the Domestic Level.” Journal of European Public Policy. [PDF]

Abstract

This article investigates the link between attitude formation at the national and the supranational level of the European Union (EU). While the existing studies have provided strong evidence that attitudes towards national institutions fundamentally condition attitudes towards the EU, the mechanisms through which these spillovers occur are not clearly spelled out. Our main contribution is to theorize the complex ways in which the national politicization of the European integration process affects support for the EU by focusing on critical moments in the EU integration process and the electoral fortunes of the political parties doing the cuing. To test our theoretical claims, we employ multilevel models using six rounds of the European Social Survey combined with party-level data from Chapel Hill Expert Survey, and various country-level data. The analyses show that spillover effects are crucially conditioned by the level of politicization of European integration at the national level.


Ceka, Besir and Aleksandra Sojka. 2016. “Loving it but not Feeling it yet? The State of European Identity After the Eastern Enlargement.” European Union Politics 17 (3): 482-503. [PDF]

Abstract

The inclusion of eleven new member states from the former Eastern bloc constitutes a significant challenge to the European Union (EU) in various respects. Many worry that whatever tenuous “European identity” existed prior to the eastern enlargement, it has now become so diluted that no meaningful European political community can come to fruition. Are there systematic differences in the level of European identification in Eastern and Western Europe? This paper seeks to address this question through a comparative analysis of affective and cognitive European identity in the old and the new Central and Eastern European (CEE) member states of the EU. Our findings indicate that the accession of new countries from the East might end up reinvigorating supranational identity formation in Europe.


Armingeon, Klaus, and Besir Ceka. 2014. “The Loss of Trust in the European Union during the Great Recession since 2007: The Role of Heuristics from the National Political System.” European Union Politics 15 (1): 82–107. [PDF]

Abstract

How can we explain the decline in support for the European Union and the idea of European integration after the onset of the great recession in the fall of 2007? Did the economic crisis and the austerity policies that the EU imposed — in tandem with the IMF — on several member countries help cause this drop? While there is some evidence for this direct effect of EU policies, we find that the most significant determinant of trust and support for the EU remains the level of trust in national government. Based on cue theory and using concepts of diffuse and specific support we find that support for the EU is derived from evaluations of national politics and policy, which Europeans know far better than the remote political system of the EU. This effect, however, is somewhat muted for those sophisticated Europeans that are more knowledgeable about the EU and are able to form opinions about it independently of the national contexts in which they live. We also find that the recent economic crisis has led to a discernible increase in the number of those who are disillusioned with politics both at the national and the supranational level. We analyze 133 national surveys from 27 EU countries by estimating a series of cross-classified multilevel logistic regression models.


Ceka, Besir. 2013. “The Perils of Political Competition Explaining Participation and Trust in Political Parties in Eastern Europe.” Comparative Political Studies 46 (12): 1610–35. [PDF]

Abstract

This paper explains the puzzling finding that post-communist citizens living in countries with higher quality institutions have lower levels of political trust and participation. Why does political trust and participation not follow the quality of democratic institutions? I argue that in post-communist Europe vibrant and robust political competition has stifled trust and, in turn, participation. Using multi-level data, I show that the polities that experienced vibrant political competition in their electoral arenas also witnessed the highest levels of disillusionment with political parties and, consequently, with the political system. Decades of monopolization of the electoral arena by communist parties left Eastern Europeans ill prepared to appreciate vigorous political competition which, depending on its intensity, tended to depress trust in political parties as an institution and, consequently, stifled political participation.


Book

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, Tobias Lenz, Jeanine Bezuijen, Besir Ceka, Svet Derderyan (2017). Measuring International Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance, Volume III. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Table of contents Vol III

Abstract

This book sets out a measure of authority for seventy-six international organizations (IOs) from 1950, or the time of their establishment, to 2010 which can allow researchers to test expectations about the character, sources, and consequences of international governance. The international organizations considered are regional (e.g. the EU, Andean Community, NAFTA), crossregional (e.g. Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and global (e.g. the UN, World Bank, WTO). First, we introduce carefully constructed estimates for the scope and depth of authority exercised by international governments. The estimates are unique in their comparative scope, their specificity, and time span. Second, we describe broad trends in IO authority by comparing delegation and pooling, over time, across IOs, and across decision areas. Third, we present the evidence that we have gathered to estimate international authority by carefully discussing forty-seven international organizations, and showing how their bodies are composed, what decisions each body makes, and how they make decisions.


Book chapters

Ceka, Besir and Pedro C. Magalhães. 2016. “How People Understand Democracy: A Social Dominance Approach.” In How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy, edited by Mónica Ferrín and Hanspeter Kriesi, 90-110. Oxford University Press. [PDF]


Monograph

Marks, Gary, Tobias Lenz, Besir Ceka and Brian Burgoon (2014). “Discovering
Cooperation: A Contractual Approach to Institutional Change in Regional
International Organizations.” EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2014/65, Robert
Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Global Governance Programme. [PDF]


Works in progress

  • “Causes and consequences of emigration from the Western Balkans to Western Europe.” Work in progress.
  • “Trust in Political Institutions: A Relative Deprivation Approach.” Work in progress.
  • “Mind the Gap: The Different Levels of Trust in EU and National Institutions.” In preparation for submission.

Short articles and essays

    • Ceka, Besir. 2018. “Macedonia: A New Beginning?” Journal of Democracy 29 (2): 143–57. [PDF]
    • Bryan, Alyssa and Besir Ceka (2016). “After Paris, Europe Must Deny Power to Far Right.” The Charlotte Observer, March 19.
    • Ceka, Besir (2014). Something to trust. The European, March 31. 
    • Ceka, Besir (2013). The EU may have a democratic deficit, but national governments are facing an even greater legitimacy crisis. LSE EUROPP Blog, October 29.