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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Politics


Our research program aims to contribute to the institutional analysis of democracies in comparative perspective. We focus on three main areas: National and Multi-Level Patterns of Democratic Decision-Making; Democratic Politics and Institutional Design; the Changing Nature of Democratic Institutions. The projects on national and multi-level democracy aim to systematize knowledge about the workings of political institutions, and in particular on the relationship between interests and institutions through broad comparative studies of political decision-making at both the national and supra-national level. Our work on the origins and impact of institutional designs considers both the macro-level of national political institutions and the micro-level of political processes introduced as mechanisms to solve specific public policy problems or to engage in various forms of political mobilization. At both the macro and micro levels, the origins and impact of institutional design are analyzed in terms of interactions with boundedly-rational and politically-interested actors.

We also examine the changing nature of democracy from a more long-term historical perspective, in projects ranging from the mobilization of labor movements at the cusp of universal suffrage to the re-negotiation of post-war settlements in coordinated political economies in the wake of international deregulation and economic integration. In theoretical terms, we hope to make contributions to veto point theory; develop a theory and measure of electoral pressure; further develop negotiation theory by including the factor of time; refine historical institutional analysis by placing greater weight on cognitive and psychological factors, as well as diffusion theory; contribute to theoretical debates on institutional origins and change; understand the relationship between political institutions and welfare states in comparative historical perspective; and identify the determinants of individual and national attitudes and behavior toward the EU.

Ongoing Research Projects