Kenneth Benoit

Department of Political Science
Trinity College Dublin
1 College Green
Dublin 2, Ireland


Professional Preparation

B.A. 1991 University of South Carolina Political Science, summa cum laude, with Honors
M.A. 1993 Harvard University  
Ph.D. 1998 Harvard University Government, specialization in quantitative methodology


1998-date Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin (TCD).
1997-1998 Visiting Asst. Professor, Department of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest.

Publications: directly related

Michael Laver and Kenneth Benoit. 2003. The evolution of party systems between elections. American Journal of Political Science 47:2 215-233.

Michael Laver, Kenneth Benoit and John Garry. 2003. Estimating the policy positions of political actors using words as data. American Political Science Review 97:2 (forthcoming June 2003).

Kenneth Benoit and Michael Laver. 2003. “Estimating Irish Party Positions Using Computer Wordscoring: The 2002 Elections (A Research Note).'' Irish Political Studies 17(2).

Michael Laver and Kenneth Benoit. 2002. “Locating TDs in Policy Spaces: Wordscoring Dáil Speeches.'' Irish Political Studies 17(1, Summer): 59-73.

Kenneth Benoit. 2001. “Simulation Methodologies for Political Scientists.'' The Political Methodologist 10(1, Fall): 12-16.

Publications: other significant

Kenneth Benoit and Gary King. 1996-2002. “EzI: A(n Easy) Program for Ecological Inference.'' Computer software for MS-DOS, OS/2, and Windows 95. Winner of the 1998 APSA Best Research Software Award.

Kenneth Benoit. 2002. “The Endogeneity Problem in Electoral Studies: A Critical Reexamination of Duverger's Mechanical Effect.'' Electoral Studies 21(1, March): 35-46.

Kenneth Benoit. 2001. ”District Magnitude, Electoral Formula, and the Number of Parties.'' European Journal of Political Research 39(2, March): 203-229.

Kenneth Benoit and John W. Schiemann. 2001. “Institutional Choice in New Democracies: Bargaining Over Hungary's 1989 Electoral Law.'' Journal of Theoretical Politics 13(2, April): 159-188.

Kenneth Benoit. 2000. ”Which Electoral Formula is the Most Proportional? A New Look with New Evidence.'' Political Analysis 8(4): 381-388.

Synergistic Activities

As head of the Comparative Spatial Models of Party Competition project run from Trinity College, Benoit is currently conducting (with Michael Laver) expert surveys of party positions on policy in 45 countries. This project uses the Internet for most questionnaire distribution and data collection, and is translated into more than 20 languages. The resulting dataset will be a major benefit to all scholars engaged in the empirical testing of spatial models of party competition, including party switching models.

Benoit is also actively engaged in extending and applying a new method of computerized content analysis developed with Michael Laver. Known as Wordscores, this method enables information on the policy positions of political actors to be extracted from texts, and works without laborious dictionary construction, and can be applied to any language. To the extent that this methodology enables the political positions of individual party members to be extracted from their speeches, it has the potential to add a new dimension to party switching analyses.

Benoit is also a project leader and Research Associate with the Institute for International Integration Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, as well as a team leader (with Michael Laver) on an EU Fifth Framework grant, Domestic Structures of European Integration. He serves on the editorial board of Electoral Studies.

Collaborators & Other Affiliations

Collaborators and Co-Editors

Michael Laver, Trinity College Dublin

Michael Marsh, Trinity College Dublin

Gary King, Harvard University

Jacqueline Hayden, Trinity College Dublin

John Schiemann, Farleigh Dickenson University, NJ

John Garry, Queens University Belfast

Daniela Giannetti, University of Bologna

Graduate and Postdoctoral Advisors

Gary King, Harvard University

Kenneth Shepsle, Harvard University

Thesis advisor to:

Jacqueline Hayden, Trinity College Dublin

Karin Gilland, Queens University Belfast

Lucy Mansergh, Trinity College Dublin

Postdoctoral sponsor to:


Total number of postgraduates under supervision over past 5 years: c10