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Benefits and Target Groups

Benefits of the Action
Previous research on the functioning of electoral democracy was mostly restricted to single nation studies. Cross-national variation in the function of elections as linkages between citizens and the state was hardly captured, let alone the interplay of context characteristics and individual vote choices. Only very recently, electoral research starts to overcome those limitations both in a global perspective and in the European domain.
This Action will advance the capacity of European researchers to conduct methodologically advanced, information-rich comparative research by constructing the necessary data base and by enabling individual researchers to properly analyze it. The benefit of that all will be manifold:
. In a more narrow academic perspective, the national communities of electoral scholars will be integrated in a Europe-wide network of scientific exchange, co-operative analyses, and mutual learning. In-depth knowledge of local traditions of research and their findings will be confronted with a comprehensive dataset and cutting-edge statistical methodologies.
. Substantively, the Action will produce new insights in the functioning of the electoral connection and help identify the causes of advantages and deficiencies of particular institutional arrangements in electoral systems. This will inform constitutional engineers, politicians and scholars who aim at improving the legal and constitutional framework in which national elections are organised.

Target groups/end users
The database itself as well as the reports and the policy recommendations that result from the Action will be available to a wide range of users. There are probably four different groups of them. The first group is the academic community, scholars, researchers and PhD students. Journalists represent a second group of users. Thirdly, the expected benefits of the Action are planned to be conveyed to political elites at the various layers of the European multi-level system of governance among them members of parliaments and governments and the heads of European political parties. The end user of the Action, however, is the civil society at large which will be informed about the findings of the Action both via the mass media system and the open access to information provided by the Action’s website.