Global Elections Day and EPO’s 4th Anniversary Roundtable

United Nations (New York), Thursday 1 February 2024 10:00-11:30 (followed by a brunch reception)

We are very excited to be celebrating Global Elections Day and our 4th Anniversary with an event and panel discussion at the UN on ‘Democracy and the (inter)generational challenge’.

The event has been organised with the support of the EU delegation to the UN, our 10th Anniversary ESRC Best International Impact Award, and the European Research Council.

A presentation of some of our newest findings will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Anna Nyqvist, Chair of the Swedish Election Authority, Professor Robert Erikson from Columbia University, one of the most eminent scholars in electoral behaviour, and leading members of the United Nations Development Programme’s Governance team.

The event will be highly interactive and is restricted to a small number of participants by invitation only in order to enable an open and enriching discussion. If you would like an invitation to this event, please contact

We will showcase and discuss findings on two key aspects of our latest research:

  • Functions of democracy: how to adapt to citizens who have outgrown democracy?

As part of the research we are conducting in the ERC AdG ELHO (“The Age of Hostility”) in 27 democracies and using mixed quantitative, qualitative and experimental methods, an early incidental and crucial finding is that when asking citizens what they want to use democracy for, their answers 1) vary a lot and 2) often diverge significantly from the functions democratic institutions were designed to offer. We show that primary functions of democracy vary a lot across categories, with the most disengaged categories often those prioritising functions institutions were least designed to fulfil.

  • Hostility and intergenerationality: navigating the risks of hopelessness and humiliation

In recent years, much has been made of the role of polarisation (ie politicised groups closing ranks but moving further away from each other) in fuelling democratic crises. A brutal conclusion of ELHO findings is that this reading is mistaken or at least obsolete along generational lines: older generations are indeed polarised, but the young are hostile – in other words, whilst older people feel close to those who vote like them but increasingly negative towards opposite voters, the young are negative towards everyone including those who vote for their own party, creating new challenges.

This page will be updated to include livestream weblink and later photos and information about the presentation and discussions.