The Power of the Presidents. Paul Chaisty, Nic Cheeseman and Timothy Power win prize for the global comparison of presidential systems

On which pillars does presidential power depend? Which factors ensure (in)stability? Paul Chaisty, Nic Cheeseman and Timothy Power from the University of Oxford have compared different presidential systems in the world regions of Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union. For their work, the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies has awarded the three scholars with the Comparative Area Studies (CAS) Award.

This is the first time the GIGA has awarded the prize. With the CAS Award, the GIGA wants to promote the development of this young and innovative field of research. From the first-class entries received, the international jury consisting of Scott Gates (editor-of-chief of International Area Studies Review), Sean Yom (Temple University) and Andreas Mehler (GIGA) selected the article “Rethinking the ‘presidentialism debate’: Conceptualizing coalitional politics in cross-regional perspective” first published online 2012 and now in Democratization,  Vol. 21, Iss. 1, 2014.

“The authors have taken excellent advantage of the opportunities offered by comparative area studies: context sensitivity, generalisation to broader empirical base, but also concretisation. What matters where and how much?”, said Andreas Mehler in explaining the jury’s decision. “Chaisty, Cheeseman and Power have not only investigated the interplay of diverse possibilities of presidents’ influence, they have also – and that is the decisive progress – given weight to local factors: history, culture, development paths.”

The three researchers distinguished themselves with their political scientific expertise as well as their knowledge about each world region: Paul Chaisty is an expert on the former Soviet Union, Nic Cheeseman on Africa and Timothy Power on Latin America. “For their paper, they have looked beyond the borders of their area”, said Mehler. “As a result, they gathered new insights into the study of political systems.”

The ceremony for the GIGA CAS Award will be held on 10 April 2014 in Hamburg at the international conference “Adapting Institutions: A Comparative Area Studies Perspective”, which will mark the GIGA’s 50th anniversary.

For more information on comparative area studies: