Rhode Scholarship and Paper Prize | Department of Political Science



May 31, 2022 – Karessa Weir

Nikolaos Frantzeskakis was named this first recipient of the Rhode Fellowship, endowed in memory of Dr. William Rhode, the first person to receive a doctorate in political science from MSU.

He also won the Best Paper Award for 2022 for his work “Putting Parliamentarians Back in Parliament: Fairer Elections and MPs as Representatives”.

As Dr. Michael Wahman said, “The paper, in my view, represents the best of the research in comparative politics produced by our students.” In the document, Frantzeskakis argues that fairer elections will lead to increased levels of accountability. This, in turn, will encourage MPs to be more active and engaged in parliamentary debates, and to be better representatives overall.

“Empirical analysis of experimental data shows that this is indeed the case. These results run counter to much of the existing literature, which focuses on resource transfers and views parliamentary behavior as having minimal consequences. This has important implications for the kinds of electoral reforms that could improve the state of democracy in the region,” Frantzeskakis said.

The Rhode Fellowship provides funding for Frantzeskakis to continue collecting data for his thesis on the electoral success of MPs in sub-Saharan Africa.

“I argue that parliamentary representation is an important and overlooked determinant of future support for elections in sub-Saharan Africa. Further, I posit that the decision to prioritize representation hinges on whether MPs rely on the party label for re-election,” he said. . “This work has important implications for our understanding of democratic consolidation on the continent.”

Frantzeskakis is grateful for both awards and appreciates the support of the department and the Rhode family.

“First of all, I feel honored to have received these awards. I cannot claim any credit without acknowledging the tremendous impact my advisors and mentors have had on me. Their help, support and feedback has been invaluable. in the development of my research, but they also help me to grow as a person and shape me as an academic.And this is only part of the support I received from the Department of Science politician, who invested in me and supported me in every way possible at every turn of life. Receiving these awards also gives me hope. I wanted to become a political scientist to help identify and solve the problems of our political systems so that we can live in a better world. It’s as lofty a dream as any. However, when my efforts are validated in such a way, I can’t help but hope that in my limited way, I might be able to bring a a positive contribution to change.”

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