IE University celebrates two faculty members who recently achieved an international award for their research, showcasing our community’s commitment to academic achievement and research excellence.

3 min read

IE School of Politics, Economics & Global Affairs faculty members Michael Becher and Irene Menéndez González won the McGillivray Best Paper Award for their co-authored paper entitled “Trade Origins of Proportional Representation.” This prestigious award is given to the best paper in Political Economy presented at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

At IE University, we strive to provide our students with a high-quality educational journey, guided by professors with a depth of experience and unique expertise. Achievements like this award demonstrate the caliber of our academic community and how our collaborative learning environment benefits all members of IE University.

Examining historical events with a fresh perspective

IE University faculty members Michael and Irene describe their paper as an investigation into “how international trade shapes the struggle over domestic democratic institutions.” Digging into previously underestimated ties between trade policies and electoral systems, they found that disagreements over economic policies had a strong influence on the building of new political systems during the first wave of globalization.

Their award-winning paper provides a new perspective on the debate surrounding the economic origins of our political systems today, providing insight into contemporary political and economic issues. They hope their paper will “encourage scholars to take a fresh look at the interplay of global markets and the design of political institutions in 21st-century democracies.”

Of course, receiving the McGillivray Award was a highlight of both Michael and Irene’s careers. They were delighted to have their paper recognized by APSA and had not expected to receive such an honor.

A collaborative learning environment

Michael and Irene never underestimated the power of collaboration when writing their paper. Their paper builds on work pioneered by scholars at other leading institutions across the globe to help reach an understanding of our political economy and draw lessons for the future. Researching historical events comes with many challenges, such as finding sources and coding data, but the pair also found it to be a lot of fun, especially as part of a collective endeavor.

As IE University faculty members, Michael and Irene say they “benefited from their colleagues’ curiosity and wonderful capacity for constructive criticism.” They highlighted their lunches together at IE Tower, where they would bounce ideas off each other and voice their doubts. They received many useful suggestions along the way from fellow faculty members like Andrew Bertoli and Zuheir Desai. They were also motivated by the regular research seminars held at IE School of Politics, Economics & Global Affairs, which bring together leading scholars from around the globe, providing an invaluable source of inspiration for both faculty and students.

Top faculty members like Michael and Irene serve as guides and mentors for IE University students. Their advice to students:

Use the power of teamwork—it can be a discovery engine. Each team member brings a different academic background and perspective to the project.

Committed to the IE University community

Here at IE University, we pursue academic excellence, and this award is a testament to the high-caliber education we provide our students under the guidance of our exceptional faculty. The networking opportunities for students who can collaborate with top researchers in their subject are invaluable.

Without a doubt, this award will have a positive impact beyond Michael and Irene, extending to the entire IE University community. Immersed in this environment of quality research and collaborative learning, students can make the most of their professors’ wealth of knowledge, while finding inspiration to make great academic discoveries for themselves.