Inaugural best paper award goes to York professor, student

glasses and pen resting on notebook

A York faculty member and graduate student have won the inaugural Alexis de Tocqueville Award for the best conference paper on democracy and public opinion, an award given by the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR).

Andrew Dawson
Andrew Dawson

Andrew Dawson, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the Glendon Campus of York University, and Isabel Krakoff, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology, were announced as the winners during WAPOR’s 75th conference.

The paper “Political Trust and Democracy: The Critical Citizens Thesis Re-Examined” empirically assesses competing perspectives on the relationship between democracy and political trust. It draws upon data from the World Values Survey, the European Values Study and several other sources to undertake multi-level analyses using a cross-national panel dataset of 82 countries for the period 1990-2020.

The findings suggest there is a strong, negative relationship between democracy and political trust that cannot be easily dismissed as an artifact of model misspecification or response bias.

The authors re-examine the critical citizens thesis by disaggregating political trust into trust in partisan and non-partisan institutions, following recent studies suggesting that there are both theoretical and empirical rationales to do so.

Dawson is a member of both the Graduate Program in Sociology and the Master’s in Public and International Affairs Program and is an associate editor of the Canadian Review of Sociology. His primary areas of research interest are political sociology; violence and development, with a focus on state legitimacy; political and social trust; democracy and the rule of law. He has pursued an empirical and cross-national research agenda in these fields that draws upon both quantitative and comparative historical methods. This research has been published in various sociology and social science journals, including the British Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Science History, World Development, and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics.

Krakoff is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. She completed her MA in international affairs with a concentration in global gender policy in 2018 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. before moving to Canada for her PhD. She is currently working on her dissertation exploring the intersection of right-wing populism and human rights claims. Her research interests include political sociology, the study of race and racism, critical sexuality studies, global gender policy, and mixed methods research.