Origins of Descriptive Representation (ODER)

ODER studies breakthrough candidacies, i.e. the first-ever election of a candidate from an underrepresented group in a given electoral unit. We ask the question: How do breakthrough candidacies affect electoral support, nominations, and rhetoric among candidate parties and their competitors?

Source: StableDiffusion

To answer the research question, ODER develops a novel dataset containing the result of every individual general election candidacy in Danish history. We focus on women and workers, groups at the heart of existing literatures on descriptive (under)representation, and apply modern methods for causal inference.




ODER contributes empirically by providing new evidence on the effects of breakthrough candidacies on voters and parties. The project partners with Statistics Denmark to make all of its data publicly available. Hence, ODER also contributes methodologically by radically expanding the historical coverage of Danish election data.
Methodology: Data on Danish candidate-level election results are currently accessible in the Danish Election Database hosted by Statistics Denmark, but only for the six elections from 2001 onwards. ODER will use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to digitize candidate-level election results for all pre-2001 elections.








The ODER research team will consist of two three-year postdocs and one one-year research assistant. The team starts with the ODER project on September 1, 2023.




























Name Title Phone E-mail
Frederik Georg Hjorth Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535324104 E-mail

Funded by:

Origins of Descriptive Representation (ODER) is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation

Project: Origins of Descriptive Representation (ODER)
Period: 2023-2026


Frederik Hjorth
Department of Political Science
Phone: +45 35 32 41 04