Kenneth Benoit
Professor - Quantitative Social Sciences, Political Science


Kenneth Benoit is currently Professor of Quantitative Social Sciences and Head, Department of Political Science, at Trinity College, University of Dublin. He received his Ph.D. (1998) from Harvard University, Department of Government.

Professor Benoit's substantive research interests include comparative party competition, the European Parliament, electoral systems, and transitions to democracy. Much of his recent work involves estimating the electoral effects of campaign spending. He is also a leading specialist on Hungarian elections and the Hungarian electoral system. His methodological interests include statistical methodologies for the social sciences, especially those relating to measurement and quantitative text analysis. Recent data large-scale measurement projects in which he has been involved include estimating policy positions of political parties through expert surveys, manifesto coding, and text analysis.

He also work occasionally as a consultant for political parties, governmental organizations, and media for all business related to elections, especially computer modeling and forecasting of election outcomes.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Julio Amador, Sofia Collignon-Delmar, Kenneth Benoit, and Akitaka Matsuo, Predicting the Brexit Vote by Tracking and Classifying Public Opinion Using Twitter Data, Statistics, Politics and Policy, 2018 Journal Article, 2018

Kasper Welbers, Wouter van Atteveldt, and Kenneth Benoit, Text analysis in R, Communications Methods and Measures, 11, (4), 2017, p245 - 265 Journal Article, 2017

Daniel Schwarz, Denise Traber, and Kenneth Benoit, Estimating Intra-Party Preferences: Comparing Speeches to Votes, Political Science Research and Methods, 5, (2), 2017, p379 - 396 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text

Benoit, Kenneth, Drew Conway, Benjamin E. Lauderdale, Michael Laver, and Slava Mikhaylov, Crowd-Sourced Text Analysis: Reproducible and Agile Production of Political Data, American Political Science Review, 110, (2), 2016, p278 - 291 Journal Article, 2016

Paul Nulty, Yannis Theocharis, Sebastian Adrian Popa, Olivier Parnet, and Kenneth Benoit, Social Media and Political Communication in the 2014 Elections to the European Parliament, Electoral Studies, 44, 2016, p429 - 444 Journal Article, 2016

Michael Laver and Kenneth Benoit, The Basic Arithmetic of Legislative Decisions, American Journal of Political Science, 59, (2), 2015, p275 - 291 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Herzog, Alexander and Kenneth Benoit, The Most Unkindest Cuts: Speaker Selection and Expressed Government Dissent During Economic Crisis, Journal of Politics, 77, (4), 2015, p1157 - 1175 Journal Article, 2015

Lowe, Will and Kenneth Benoit, Validating Estimates of Latent Traits From Textual Data Using Human Judgment as a Benchmark, Political Analysis, 21, 2013, p298 - 313 Journal Article, 2013 URL

Däubler, Thomas, Kenneth Benoit, Slava Mikhaylov, and Michael Laver., Natural Sentences as Valid Units for Coded Political Texts, British Journal of Political Science, 42, (4), 2012, p937 - 951 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

Benoit, Kenneth, Michael Laver, Will Lowe, and Slava Mikhaylov, How to scale coded text units without bias: A response to Gemenis., Electoral Studies, 31, 2012, p605 - 608 Journal Article, 2012 URL

Kenneth Benoit and Michael Laver, The Dimensionality Of Political Space: Epistemological And Methodological Considerations, European Union Politics, 13, (2), 2012, p194 - 218 Journal Article, 2012 URL

Gail McElroy and Kenneth Benoit, Policy Positioning in the European Parliament, European Union Politics, 13, (1), 2012, p150 - 167 Journal Article, 2012

Kenneth Benoit and Michael Marsh, Incumbent and challenger campaign spending effects in proportional electoral systems: the Irish elections of 2002, Political Research Quarterly, 63, (1), 2010, p159-173 Journal Article, 2010

Gail McElroy & Kenneth Benoit, Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament, British Journal of Political Science, 40, (2), 2010, p377 - 398 Journal Article, 2010 TARA - Full Text

Party Group Switching in the European Parliament in, editor(s)Heller, William and Carol Mershon , Legislative Party Switching and the Foundations of Political Parties, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp147-172 , [Gail McElroy and Kenneth Benoit] Book Chapter, 2009

Kenneth Benoit, Slava Mikhaylov, and Michael Laver, Treating Words as Data with Error: Uncertainty in Text Statements of Policy Positions, American Journal of Political Science, 53, (2), 2009 Journal Article, 2009

Kenneth Benoit, Thomas Bräuninger, and Marc Debus, Challenges for estimating policy preferences: Announcing an open access archive of political documents, German Politics, 18, (3), 2009, p441-454 Journal Article, 2009

Kenneth Benoit, Irish Political Parties and Policy Stances on European Integration, Irish Political Studies, 24, (4), 2009, p447 - 466 Journal Article, 2009 DOI URL

Kenneth Benoit and Michael Marsh, A Relative Impact Ranking of Political Studies in Ireland, Economic and Social Review, 40, (3), 2009, p269 - 298 Journal Article, 2009 TARA - Full Text

Nina Wiesehomeier and Kenneth Benoit, Presidents, Parties And Policy Competition, Journal of Politics, 71, 2009, p1435-1447 Journal Article, 2009 TARA - Full Text

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, "Compared to What? A Comment on `A Robust Transformation Procedure for Interpreting Political Text' by Martin and Vanberg." , Political Analysis , 16, (1), 2008, p101 - 111 Journal Article, 2008

Kenneth Benoit and Michael Marsh, 'The Campaign Value of Incumbency: A New Solution to the Puzzle of Less Effective Incumbent Spending, American Journal of Political Science, 52, (4), 2008, p874 - 890 Journal Article, 2008

Intraparty politics and coalition governments in parliamentary democracies in, editor(s)Giannetti, Daniela and Kenneth Benoit , Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Governments in Parliamentary Democracies - Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science , London, Routledge, 2008, pp1-256 , [Daniela Giannetti and Kenneth Benoit] Book Chapter, 2008

Giannetti, Daniela and Kenneth Benoit, Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Governments in Parliamentary Democracies - Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science , London, Routledge, 2008, 1-256pp Book, 2008

Intraparty politics and coalition governance: concluding remarks in, editor(s)Daniela Giannetti and Kenneth Benoit , Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Governments in Parliamentary Democracies - Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science , London, Routledge, 2008, pp1-256 , [Daniela Giannetti and Kenneth Benoit] Book Chapter, 2008

Expert Judgments in, editor(s)Susanne Pickel, Gert Pickel, Hans-Joachim Lauth, and Detlef Jahn , In Neuere Entwicklungen und Anwendungen auf dem Gebiet der Methoden der vergleichenden Politik- und Sozialwissenschaft, Wiesbaden, VS-Verlag, 2008, pp497-515 , [Kenneth Benoit and Nina Wiesehomeier] Book Chapter, 2008

McElroy, Gail and Kenneth Benoit, Party Groups and Policy Positions in the European Parliament , Party Politics, 13, (1), 2007, p5 - 28 Journal Article, 2007

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, ``Estimating party policy positions: Comparing expert surveys and hand coded content analysis.'' , Electoral Studies, 26, 2007, p90 - 107 Journal Article, 2007

Laver, Michael and Kenneth Benoit, Le changement des systèmes partisans et la transformation des espaces politiques." [Party system change: evidence of changing policy spaces), Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée, 14, (2), 2007, p303 - 324 Journal Article, 2007

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, ``Benchmarks for Text Analysis: A Reply to Budge and Pennings.'', Electoral Studies, 26, 2007, p130 - 135 Journal Article, 2007

McElroy, G & Benoit, K, Party Groups and Policy Positions in the European Parliament, Party Politics, 13, (1), 2007, p5 - 28 Journal Article, 2007

Benoit, Kenneth, "Electoral Laws as Political Consequences: Explaining the Origins and Change of Electoral Institutions.", Annual Review of Political Science, 10, 2007, p363 - 390 Journal Article, 2007 URL

Hungary: Protection of Ethnic Minorities and Institutional Balance in, editor(s)Thomas Konig and Simon Hug , Policy-making Processes and the European Constitution: A comparative study of member states and accession countries,, London, Routledge, 2006, [Gwiazda, Anna and Kenneth Benoit] Book Chapter, 2006

Benoit, Kenneth, Daniela Giannetti, and Michael Laver, ``Voter Strategies with Restricted Choice Menus.'', British Journal of Political Science, 36, 2006, p459 - 485 Journal Article, 2006 DOI

Benoit, Kenneth, ``Duverger's Law and the Study of Electoral Systems.'' , French Politics, 4, (1), 2006, p69 - 83 Journal Article, 2006 DOI

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver. , Party Policy in Modern Democracies, London, Routledge, 2006 Book, 2006

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, Automated Content Analysis of Political Texts using Wordscores, 2006, - 6-9 Miscellaneous, 2006

Laver, Michael, Kenneth Benoit, and Nicholas Sauger, ``Policy Competition in the 2002 French Legislative and Presidential Elections.'' , European Journal of Political Research, 45, (4), 2006, p667 - 697 Journal Article, 2006

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, Party Policy in Modern Democracies - Routledge Research in Comparative Politics, 1st, London, Routledge, 2006, 1-287pp Book, 2006 URL

Laver, Michael and Kenneth Benoit, ``Estimating Party Policy Positions: Japan in Comparative Context.'' , Japanese Journal of Political Science , 6(2, August), 2005, p187 - 209 Journal Article, 2005

``Hungary: Holding Back the Tiers.'' in, editor(s)Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell , In The Politics of Electoral Systems, eds., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, [Benoit, Kenneth.] Book Chapter, 2005

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver., ``Mapping the Irish Policy Space: Voter and Party Spaces in Preferential Elections.'' , Economic and Social Review , 36(2, Summer/Autumn), 2005, p83 - 108 Journal Article, 2005

Benoit, Kenneth, Michael Laver, Christine Arnold, Madeleine O. Hosli, and Paul Pennings, ``Measuring National Delegate Positions at the Convention on the Future of Europe Using Computerized Wordscoring.'' , European Union Politics , 6(3, September), 2005, p291 - 313 Journal Article, 2005

``Hungary: Protection of Ethnic Minorities and Institutional Balance.' in, editor(s)Thomas Konig and Simon Hug , In Preference Formation and European Constitution-building. A Comparative Study in Member States and Accession Countries., eds., London, Routledge, 2005, [Gwiazda, Anna and Kenneth Benoit.] Book Chapter, 2005

Kenneth Benoit, How Qualitative Research Really Counts.'' , 2005, - Miscellaneous, 2005

Benoit, Kenneth , Wordscores: Software for Coding Political Texts. Requires Stata, 2004, - Miscellaneous, 2004 URL

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Marsh, ``Campaign Spending in the Local Government Elections of 1999.'' , Irish Political Studies , 18(2, Winter), 2004, p1 - 22 Journal Article, 2004

``Multi-Party Split-Ticket Voting Estimation as an Ecological Inference Problem.'' in, editor(s)Gary King, Ori Rosen, and Martin Tanner , Ecological Inference: New Methodological Strategies., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004, [Benoit, Kenneth, Michael Laver and Daniela Giannetti] Book Chapter, 2004

Benoit, Kenneth and Jacqueline Hayden, ``Institutional Change and Persistence: The Evolution of Poland's Electoral System 1989-2001.'' , Journal of Politics, 66(May, 2), 2004, p396 - 427 Journal Article, 2004

Benoit, Kenneth., ``Models of Electoral System Change.'' , Electoral Studies , 23, 2004, p363 - 389 Journal Article, 2004

Laver, Michael and Kenneth Benoit, ``The Evolution of Party Systems Between Elections.'' , American Journal of Political Science , 47(2, April), 2003, p215 - 233 Journal Article, 2003

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver, ``Estimating Irish Party Positions Using Computer Wordscoring: The 2002 Elections.'', Irish Political Studies , 18(1) , 2003, p97 - 107 Journal Article, 2003

Laver, Michael, Kenneth Benoit, and John Garry, ``Extracting Policy Positions from Political Texts Using Words as Data.'' , American Political Science Review, 97 (2, May), 2003, p311 - 331 Journal Article, 2003

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Marsh, ``For A Few Euros More: Campaign Spending Effects in the Irish Local Elections of 1999.', Party Politics , 9(5): , 2003, p561 - 582 Journal Article, 2003

Benoit, Kenneth., ``Like Déja Vu All Over Again: The Hungarian Elections of 2002.'' , Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics , 18(4, Dec), 2002, p119 - 133 Journal Article, 2002

Benoit, Kenneth, ``The Endogeneity Problem in Electoral Studies: A Critical Reexamination of Duverger's Mechanical Effect.'', Electoral Studies , 21(1, March), 2002, p35 - 46 Journal Article, 2002

Benoit, Kenneth and Gary King., EzI: A(n Easy) Program for Ecological Inference. Computer software for MS-DOS, OS/2, and Windows 95, 2002, - Software, 2002

Sara Pendergast and Thomas Pendergast, eds , Hungary., 2002, - Miscellaneous, 2002

Laver, Michael and Kenneth Benoit., ``Locating TDs in Policy Spaces: Wordscoring Dáil Speeches.'', Irish Political Studies , 17(1, Summer), 2002, p59 - 73 Journal Article, 2002

Benoit, Kenneth and John W. Schiemann, ``Institutional Choice in New Democracies: Bargaining Over Hungary's 1989 Electoral Law.'', Journal of Theoretical Politics , 13(2, April), 2001, p159 - 188 Journal Article, 2001

Kenneth Benoit, ``Simulation Methodologies for Political Scientists.'' , 2001, - 12-16. Miscellaneous, 2001

Paul Pennings, Hans Keman and Jan Kleinnijenhuis, Review of Doing Research in Political Science: An Introduction to Comparative Methods and Statistics, 2001, - 107-109 Miscellaneous, 2001

Benoit, Kenneth, ``District Magnitude, Electoral Formula, and the Number of Parties.'' , European Journal of Political Research, 39(2, March), 2001, p203 - 229 Journal Article, 2001

``Evaluating Hungary's Mixed-Member Electoral System.'' in, editor(s)Matthew Shugart and Martin Wattenberg, eds. , Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: The Best of Both Worlds?, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, [Benoit, Kenneth] Book Chapter, 2001

Kenneth Benoit, ``Authoritarianism''; ``Military Dictatorship''; and ``One-party State.'' , 2001, - Miscellaneous, 2001

Benoit, Kenneth, ``Which Electoral Formula is the Most Proportional? A New Look with New Evidence.'' , Political Analysis , 8(4), 2000, p381 - 388 Journal Article, 2000

``Votes and Seats: The Hungarian Electoral Law and the 1994 Parliamentary Elections.'' in, editor(s)Gábor Tóka and Zsolt Enyedi , In Founding Elections in Eastern Europe: Elections to the 1994 Hungarian National Assembly, eds, Berlin, Sigma, 1999, [Benoit, Kenneth] Book Chapter, 1999

Gary King, Bradley Palmquist, Greg Adams, Micah Altman, Kenneth Benoit, Claudine Gay, Jeffrey B. Lewis, R. Mayer, and Eric Reinhardt. , Record of American Democracy, 1984-1990. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research Number 2162, 1999, - Miscellaneous, 1999

``Forecasting the Outcome of the 1998 Parliamentary Elections.'' in, editor(s)Sándor Kurtán, Péter Sándor, and László Vass, eds. , Hungarian Political Yearbook 1997, Budapest, Demokrácia Kutatások Magyar Központja Alapítvány. , 1998, [Benoit, Kenneth.] Book Chapter, 1998

Benoit, Kenneth, ``Forecasting the 1998 [Hungarian] Parliamentary Elections.'' , 1997, - 149-166. Miscellaneous, 1997

Kenneth Benoit, ``Why I Use Linux.'' , 1997, - 29-33 Miscellaneous, 1997

Benoit, Kenneth, ``Democracies Really Are More Pacific (In General): Reexamining Regime Type and War Involvement.'' , Journal of Conflict Resolution , 40(4), 1996, p636 - 657 Journal Article, 1996

Benoit, Kenneth, ``Hungary's Two-Ballot Electoral System.'' , Representation, 33(4), 1996, p162 - 170 Journal Article, 1996

Benoit, Kenneth and Gary King. , A Preview of EI and EzI: Programs for Ecological Inference, Review of EI and EzI, Social Science Computer Review, 14, 1996, p433-438 Review, 1996

``Electoral Systems and Minority Representation in, editor(s)Paul Peterson ed. , Classifying by Race, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1995, [Benoit, Kenneth and Kenneth Shepsle] Book Chapter, 1995

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

McElroy, Gail and Benoit, Kenneth, Party Groups and Policy Positions in the European Parliament, 2006 Working Paper, 2006 URL

``Bargaining and Institutional Choice: The Origins of Hungary's 1989 Electoral Law.'', Schiemann, John W. and Kenneth Benoit Working Paper,

Kenneth Benoit, `Re-examining Regime Type and War Involvement.' Working Paper,

Chari, Raj, Alfonso Egea de Horo, Kenneth Benoit, and Michael Laver, ``Spain and European Union Constitution-Building.'' Working Paper,

Research Expertise


I am interested in statistical methodology for the social sciences, surveys of expert judgments, computerized content analysis, statistical forecasting of election results, and the quantitative analysis of political party competition. My other research in interests include the effects of campaign finances and comparative electoral systems.


  • Title
    • Globalisation and Party Competition
  • Summary
    • To investigate the effects of European integration processes on national political party competition.
  • Funding Agency
    • IIIS, Trinity College
  • Date From
    • 2004
  • Date To
    • 2006
  • Title
    • Comparative Models of Spatial Competition
  • Summary
    • To estimate political party positions on numerous policy dimensions in 47 countries plus the European Parliament, using paper and web-based surveys of political experts.
  • Funding Agency
    • IIIS, Trinity College
  • Date From
    • 2002
  • Date To
    • 2004
  • Title
    • The application of computerized content analysis tools to extract commerically valuable information automatically from texts.
  • Summary
    • This project develops a method known as "Wordscores" to extract information from texts using words as data, employing computerized implementations of statistical methods.
  • Funding Agency
    • Enterprise Ireland
  • Date From
    • Feb 2004
  • Date To
    • Feb 2005
  • Title
    • Domestic Structures of European Integration
  • Summary
    • To study the political processes of European Constitution-building.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 2002
  • Date To
    • 2005
  • Title
    • World Database of Parties, Elections, and Governments
  • Summary
    • The objective is to create a major infrastructural resource for empirical, comparative social science research: a single, inter-linked database of parties, legislatures, elections, election manifestos, governments, and cabinet portfolios, useful for a very wide range of applications in political science, political economy, and policy analysis. Currently in this core research area, there is a proliferation of different, often inconsistent, datasets, with different domains in terms of country coverage, time period, unit of analysis, different sets of labels, different conventions for defining parties and government, different levels of granularity, etc. The typical researcher must expend enormous resources simply gathering, assembling, and cleaning the necessary data, with the cost directly scaling with the scope of the empirical analysis. Differences in results between researchers, furthermore, may simply be attributable to differences between datasets used. My proposal would aim to eliminate this cost and inconsistency by assembling, in a single dynamic resource accessible on the Internet, a world database of political parties, elections, and governments that would include all of the most important cross-national, time-series data on these topics. The data source would have four principal advantages over existing resources. First, it would unite and reconcile currently separate sources of data in a single database. Second, it would standardize codes for countries, parties, and governments in an open format that would become an industry standard for cross- national data analysis. Third, unlike all existing cross-national datasets which are static and flat-file, it would be stored in a relational database accessible through a Web interface, that would allow dynamic and flexible construction of end-user datasets according to each user's needs, blending results from different data sources and outputting a data file with the appropriate structure for the research task at hand. Finally, because of its dyanamic and open structure, once created it would be updateable.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Date From
    • 2008
  • Date To
    • 2010


Constituency Boundaries: Ireland; Constitutuency Boundaries: UK & Northern Ireland; Dynamic Models of Government; Eastern Europe; Econometric and statistical analysis; Electoral systems; EU Politics; Globalisation; Hungary Elections; Hungary: Electoral System; Hungary: Political Parties; Irish Political Parties; Irish politics, election study, electoral behaviour; Legislative Institutions; Party and government formation; Political Campaign Finance; Political Campaign Spending; Political parties; Statistical and simulation methodologies


Awards and Honours

APSA Best Research Web Site Award 1999

Government of Ireland Research Fellowship 2002-2003

APSA Best Research Software Award 1998

Government of Ireland Research Scholarship, Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2006-2007

Small Project Grant, Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2008-2010


Midwest Political Science Association 1998 – present

Political Studies Association of Ireland

American Political Science Assocation 1993 – present