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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences

Democracy and transformation

Why do coalition governments (not) comply with the policy commitments they have made in coalition agreements? Before coalition governments take over executive offices, they typically engage in intensive coalition negotiations and publish a comprehensive coalition agreement in which they provide a detailed account of the policy reforms they plan to enact in government. Even though these coalition agreements are not legally binding, they importantly constrain the behaviour of cabinet parties as coalition parties can be publicly blamed for not complying with the promises they have made in the coalition agreement. However, previous case study evidence shows that only about two thirds of all the policy reforms promised in coalition agreements were actually enacted. Despite the central importance of coalition agreements for the legislative behaviour of multiparty cabinets during their time of office, the literature has been primarily devoted to studying the formation and the survival of coalition cabinets while our knowledge about policy-making in multiparty cabinets during their time of office is still scarce. We therefore aim to close this important gap in the literature by pursuing two major objectives. First, we will develop a comprehensive theoretical framework that conceptualizes the enactment of coalition agreements as a process that is simultaneously affected by internal cabinet factors (salience, conflict, preference tangentiality, bargaining power) and external factors (public opinion, economic performance, institutional veto-players). Second, we will test our theoretical expectations by compiling a new and comprehensive dataset on the enactment of more than 100 coalition agreements negotiated by multiparty cabinets in 24 West and East European countries from 2000 until 2015 and by combining this novel dataset with information on cabinet features, public opinion, economic performance and institutional characteristics.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Heike Klüver, Hanna Bäck

Laufzeit: 10/2018 - 09/2021

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


In dem Projekt werden Ausmaß und Ursachen der Justizialisierung von Landespolitik analysiert. Gefragt wird einerseits danach, ob und bis zu welchem Grad Entscheidungen von Landesverfassungsgerichten den Handlungsspielraum von Landesparlamenten determiniert haben. Die Wirkung verfassungsgerichtlicher Urteile und Beschlüsse wird anhand eines „Stärkeindexes“ erfasst, um den verfassungsgerichtlichen Einfluss auf parlamentarische Gesetzgebungsmacht in den Bundesländern zu erschließen. Das Projekt adressiert somit eine zentrale Dimension von Verfassungsdemokratien: das Spannungsverhältnis von politischer Selbstbestimmung und Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit. Andererseits wird angenommen, dass Dimensionen und Ausmaß einer möglichen Justizialisierung – neben den rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen – abhängig sind von institutionellen und personalen Faktoren, d.h. vom Kompetenzprofil und von der Zusammensetzung des jeweiligen Landesverfassungsgerichtes. Das Projekt verknüpft somit akteur- und institutionentheoretische Ansätze, um die erkenntnisleitenden Fragestellungen zu beantworten.

Leitung: Dr. Werner Reutter

Laufzeit: 04/2018 - 03/2021

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Eigene Stelle


The Jean Monnet Network 'Enhancing Visibility of the Academic Dialogue on EU-Turkey Cooperation' (VIADUCT) brings together 40 partners from 36 countries. In addition to partners from all EU member states, there are  project participants from Turkey, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Switzerland, and Norway.

VIADUCT’s general objective is to foster policy dialogue and to contribute in the exchange of views among academics and pracitioners on recent developments in both the EU and Turkey. The aim is to improve and to enhance the teaching and research on this topic. VIADUCT’s target groups are academics, students and practitioners, civil society and general public.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Silvia von Steinsdorff

Laufzeit: 09/2017 - 08/2020

Förderung: Erasums+


Das Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (ISW) und das neue in Gründung befindliche Integrative Research Institute Law and Society (IRI LSI) der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin heißen vier Einstein-Gastwissenschaftlerinnen willkommen, die hier aus juristischer und politikwissenschaftlicher Perspektive zum Themenkomplex „Demokratie, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Autokratisierung" forschen werden.

Die Forscherinnen-Gruppe, die aus den Mitteln des Wissenschaftsfreiheits-Programms der Einstein Stiftung Berlin finanziert wird, kooperiert eng mit vier weiteren Einstein-Fellows, die am Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (BIM) angesiedelt sind und sich mit Fragen von „Migration und Flucht“ beschäftigen.

Das gemeinsame Forschungsinteresse der Einstein-Fellows am ISW und am LSI gilt verschiedenen Aspekten des democratic backsliding und der Entwicklung neuer Formen autoritärer Herrschaft in der Türkei. Die Forscherinnen untersuchen aus unterschiedlichen disziplinären Perspetiven, wie angesichts der gegenwärtigen globalen Krise rechtsstaatlicher Demokratien Verfahren und Strategien entwickelt werden können, um demokratische Werte, Prinzipien und Institutionen (besser) zu schützen. Die Forschungsprojekte der vier Wissenschaftlerinnen fügen sich hervorragend in den bereits bestehenden Forschungsschwerpunkt am LSI ein.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Silvia von Steinsdorff (ISW), Prof. Dr. Anna-Bettina Kaiser (Juristische Fakultät), Prof. Dr. Philipp Dann (Juristische Fakultät)

Laufzeit: 08/2018 – 12/2019

Förderung: Einstein Stiftung


In der Forschungswerkstatt kooperiert ein interdisziplinäres, internationales und mehrsprachiges Team in wechselnden Konstellationen. Alle Beteiligten teilen ein gemeinsames Interesse an dem Forschungsgegenstand „Verfassungspolitik in der Türkei“, betrachten das Thema jedoch aus unterschiedlichen disziplinären und nationalen Blickwinkeln.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Silvia von Steinsdorff in Kooperation mit Assoc. Prof. Ece Göztepe (Bilkent Universität)

Laufzeit: 2017 – 2019 (2. Phase)

Förderung: Stiftung Mercator (im Programm "Blickwechsel: Studien zur zeitgenössischen Türkei").


As Scientific Programme Coordinator for the NORFACE Program „Welfare State Futures,“ my proposed coordination strategy emphasizes three different avenues of networking, communication, and capacity-building: the creation of a Project Leader Council; the organization of a series of thematic workshops that would bring together members of different WSF projects; utilizing synergy effects across projects to promote training of young and emerging researchers and the dissemination of research results to both scholars and the public.

Leitung: Prof. Ph. D. Ellen Immergut (Vergleichende Analyse politischer Systeme)

Laufzeit: 04/2015 – 06/2019

Förderung: Norface Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


The second project phase aims to establish how EU professionals negotiate 'European' and 'local' stocks of knowledge in the context of EU-funded projects and how they influence the implementation of such projects, especially the allocation of financial resources. In addition to the aforementioned two countries Spain will be included in the study to also gain further insights about a Member State much affected by the eurozone crisis. Using the example of two selected areas of EU funding - the EU cohesion policy and the research funding 'Horizon 2020' -, the study places the procurement and translation services provided by funding specialists as well as the apparent difficulties encountered during this process under close investigation. By focusing on the practical dimension of EU-funded projects, Subproject 5 takes a close look at one of the central pillars of Europe's current crisis management strategy and explores the 'technical' implementation of EU policy-making from a sociological perspective, placing special emphasis on employment and knowledge. With these objectives in mind the study is meant to provide a better understanding of problems and challenges of Europeanization triggered by increasing expertization and professionalization of EU governance.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau

Laufzeit: 10/2015 – 09/2018 (2. Phase)

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


How European welfare states will develop is hard to predict. People’s current aspirations, ideas and assumptions will be important drivers of change and persistence and of the extent to which conflict and solidarity surround change. This project uses innovative methods (deliberative democratic forums and qualitative cross-national focus group surveys) to develop an understanding of people’s aspirations for the Europe their children will inhabit. The interactive and discursive methods deal directly with people’s ideas, but are rarely used in comparative welfare studies. The project is essentially forward-looking. It will contribute to theoretical work on the main cleavages and solidarities driving social policy in and to more practical consideration of the parameters of acceptable policy change. It will supply new findings relevant to the politics and sociology of welfare and provide data for reanalysis and as a base-line in future studies. Research teams in six different European welfare states (United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia) started their work on 1 February 2015. The research consortium will be led by Peter Taylor-Gooby (University of Kent, UK).

Leitung: Prof. Peter Taylor-Gooby (Universität Kent, GB), deutsches Teilprojekt: Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau

Projektmitglieder: Dr. Jan-Ocko Heuer, Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau

Laufzeit: 2/2015 – 1/2018

Förderung: Norface Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


This post doc project examines the impact of constitutional politics on the stability of autocratic and hybrid regimes. In line with recent research, it argues that constitutions and constitutional politics have a variety of purposes both in substance and in effect in these contexts. Assuming that ruling alone and absolutely is merely a theoretical possibility, political power is always, even in its most absolute sense dependent on a cohesive group and "a device" (following Ginsburg and Simpser) to control this group. In a surprisingly high number of cases, these devices of choice are constitutions. More importantly, hybrid regimes establish a unique form of commitment to constitutions. This results in fierce political conflicts over amendments. Hence, this project aims to understand how and why constitutional rule in autocratic and hybrid regimes helps to consolidate state power. The project utilizes an event-history approach, which allows to estimate the effects of the factors on the dependent variable (duration of the autocratic regime) over time. The preliminary factors found to hold some predictive power are few leadership changes, defeat in war, and low level of constitutional politics in general. The sample includes the constitutions of independent states that have existed between 1918 and 2015.

Leitung: Dr. Anna Fruhstorfer

Laufzeit: 2016 – 2017

Förderung: Volkswagen Stiftung


Recent protests against austerity measures and the political pressure experienced by governments across the Eurozone point to the vital importance of public opinion about Europeanization for policy-making and political conflict. This research project investigates the causes of citizen attitudes toward European integration and the European Union (EU). My main goal is to determine whether political elites (politicians, experts, and political parties) have the capacity to influence public opinion and to manufacture political majorities for or against European integration. I focus on elite influence through political rhetoric and party competition, and I study the interaction of these types of communication with individual dispositions that are known to be strongly correlated to EU attitudes. The extant literature relies almost entirely on non-experimental observational studies, and has so far failed to provide valid evidence for the extent of elite influence. I address this issue by conducting a series of seven political psychological experiments, combined with an analysis of existing data from public opinion surveys, media content assessments, and party manifesto codings.

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Konstantin Vössing (Vergleichende Analyse politischer Systeme)

Laufzeit: 02/2013 – 12/2017

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Die sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Transformationen der letzten drei Jahrzehnte stellen Nationalstaaten vor große Herausforderungen. Neben der häufig diskutierten Neuausrichtung von Sozialstaaten, gilt dies in gleichem Maße für andere Politikbereiche, wie z.B. Bemühungen um eine nachhaltige Landwirtschafts- oder Migrationspolitik. Während diese Entwicklungen einer Vielzahl von OECD Staaten gemein sind, lassen sich empirisch erhebliche Unterschiede in Grad und Natur der Reformbemühungen zwischen unterschiedlichen Ländern und Regierungen beobachten. Mit den angesprochenen Reformen sind wesentliche Entscheidungen über die Umverteilung von Ressourcen innerhalb der betroffenen Gesellschaften verbunden. Die Umverteilung betrifft sowohl etablierte Interessen- und Wählergruppen, als auch neu-entstandene soziale und politische Gruppierungen. Eine wesentliche Frage für die Analyse der zugrundeliegenden Entscheidungsprozesse ist, inwieweit politischer Wettbewerb und Wählerdruck die Entwicklungen und Ergebnisse in den genannten Politikfeldern prägen

Leitung: Prof. Ph. D. Ellen Immergut (Vergleichende Analyse politischer Systeme)

Laufzeit: 03/2013 – 09/2017

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)