The central idea of electoral democracy is that voters use elections to control parties and politicians. In theory, politicians anticipate consequences for poor individual and party performance and in response they attempt to implement policies that correspond to citizen interests. Citizens lose control when their electoral voice does not compel parties and politicians to act according to the interests of the people who put them in power. Repeated free and fair elections are supposed to function, then, as a mechanism of electoral control.

The Electoral Control project was based on the research grant, “Who Wins and Who Loses in the Parliamentary Elections? From Formal Theory to Empirical Analysis,” funded by Poland’s National Science Centre (Sonata Bis decision number 2012/05/E/HS6/03556) from 2013 to 2016. The Principle Investigator of this project was Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow, Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IFiS), Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) and administrator at Cross-national Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training program (CONSIRT.osu.edu) of The Ohio State University (OSU) and PAN.

This Electoral Control Project, located at the IFiS PAN, built an international multi-disciplinary team of young and established scholars, and graduate students in sociology, political science, and area studies, focused on the collection and use of data on parliamentarians and candidates in Central and Eastern Europe to address critical issues in representation, accountability and political inequality.

We produced the East European Parliamentarian and Candidate data (EAST PaC). EAST PaC contains every candidate who ran for the national legislature in Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine and spans the 1990s to the 2010s (Polish data goes back to 1985). All told, EAST PaC covers three countries, 29 years, 23 elections, and 97,439 unique candidates. The dataset allows researchers to track the political careers of every candidate over time, from the thousands who never won to the few political lifers whose parliamentary careers are decades long.

We also produced the book, Towards Electoral Control in Central and Eastern Europe, edited by Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow and Nika Palaguta (IFiS Publishers, 2016). This book contains everything that scholars need to use EAST PaC data.