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The Center undertakes research into theories and models of democracy, the quality of democracy, civic and political participation, democratic innovation, social movements, and political views and opinions. It cooperates with numerous research institutes in Poland and abroad, and also with non-governmental organisations. Aside from its academic objectives, the work of the Center is dedicated to identifying those good practices which improve the functioning of the public sphere.

Team and permanent co-operators

258 radoslaw markowski


Radosław Markowski

Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy; specialises in comparative political science and political sociology

258 benjamin stanley


Benjamin Stanley, Ph.D.

political scientist; researches voting behaviour and populism in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe

258 igor lyubashenko


Igor Lyubashenko, Ph.D.

political scientist; researches the issues surrounding transition in post-communist countries

258 mikolaj czesnik

Associate Professor

Mikołaj Cześnik

director of the Institute of Social Sciences; researches elections and voting behaviour

258 zerkowska balas


Marta Żerkowska-Balas, Ph.D.

political scientist; researches the mechanisms behind voter decisions



Michał Kotnarowski, Ph.D.

sociologist and lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at the Polish Academy of Sciences; researches the methodologies of social research, the use of quantitative methods, and voting behaviour



Polish National Election Study


The purpose of the Polish National Election Study is to provide a record and analysis of the most important of political events: parliamentary elections. It is a counterpart to nationally representative post-election surveys conducted in many other countries around the world and in the majority of mature democracies, which constitute part of the canon of knowledge in the disciplines of political sociology and political science.

Democratic Audit of Poland

This is the first attempt at a comprehensive and comparative examination of the condition of Polish democracy. It takes three perspectives on the issue: institutions (their characteristics and the quality of their functioning); political elites, parties and programmes (democratic supply); and citizens, their preferences and their attitudes towards democracy (democratic demand).

The aim of the Audit is to provide a multi-faceted description of Polish democracy: both democratic procedures and the legal and socio-cultural context in which they are located. This objective is achieved through the use of an interdisciplinary approach which analyses political institutions, legal conditions, social attitudes and economic processes, and drawing on knowledge from political science, legal analysis, sociology, economics and publicly available statistical data.

The Impact of Electoral Rules on the Quality of Local Democracy in Poland

This project, financed by the Polish National Science Centre, aims to evaluate the impact of changes to the election laws at the level of local elections in Poland. In 2011, the Polish legislature introduced a distinction between municipal communes with county (powiat) status, and those without. In the first of these communes, local councils are to be elected in majoritarian single-member constituencies, while in the latter they will be elected in multi-member districts according to a proportional system. This situation creates a unique possibility to observe the impact of institutional systems (electoral rules) in a quasi-experimental fashion. Our principal aim is to analyse the impact of this change on a range of phenomena which are held to be of key importance for the quality of contemporary democracy and the effectiveness of government. We will observe the impact of electoral rules on (a) the composition of elected councils and the way in which they function; (b) electoral participation; (c) political efficacy; (d) the level of citizen participation in processes of governance. The project will test a range of precisely formulated hypotheses and research questions. It is necessary to stress that the basic logic of our expectations with respect to our hypotheses flows from the theoretical insights and empirical findings of the literature on the impact of electoral rules. The logical mechanisms of electoral systems have been tested at the country level, but reliable data on the local level are much rarer. However, we are not aware of any reasons to assume that the logical mechanisms of electoral systems should be fundamentally different in these two contexts.


SWPS University
Chodakowska 19/31
03-815 Warsaw
room N231 (II floor)


Center for the Study of Democracy
SWPS University
phone 22 517 98 85
e-mail: csd@swps.edu.pl