Good news. The Journal of Public Policy just accepted the paper “Direct Democracy, Coalition Size, and Public Spending” (co-authored with Lucas Leemann and André Walter) for publication. Here is the abstract:
This article contributes to the literature on direct democracy and public spending in two ways. First, we explore how direct democratic institutions interact with a specific aspect of the representative system, the size of the governing coalition, to influence public spending. Second, based on newly collected data, we examine the relationship between three different direct democratic institutions, coalition size, and public spending over the period from 1860 to 2015. Empirically, we find that initiatives increase the size of the public sector under single-party governments, but this positive relationship disappears as coalition size increases. In contrast, we find that financial referendums slow down the growth of public spending, while law referendums are not systematically associated with public spending. Finally, we find that the relationship between direct democratic institutions, coalition size, and public spending does not change over time despite the long period under investigation.
Good news from Socio-Economic Review. The 2019 Impact Factor for SER has risen to 3.774 (2018: 3.328). With this score, SER remains in the top 10% of the ranked journals in political science, sociology, and economics. More precisely, SER ranks 6th in Sociology, 11th in Political Science, and 34th in economics. The 5-year Impact Factor is now at 5.176.
Good news. The European Journal of Political Research has accepted our manuscript “No Direct Taxation Without New Elite Representation Industrialization and the Domestic Politics of Taxation” (co-authored with Lucas Leemann and André Walter). Here is the abstract:
The 19th century marked the founding period of modern public finance. We examine the domestic and non-war related determinants of direct taxation in this early democratic period and in a state building context. We argue that the reasons for the expansion of direct taxation can be found in the political competition between different elite groups in the context of industrialization. Systematically differentiating between economic and political arenas, we show that intra-elite competition in industrializing economies leads to higher levels of direct taxation only if the new economic elites are able to translate their economic power into the political arena, either through the representative system or by extra-parliamentary means. In addition, we demonstrate that these processes are directly linked to public investments in policy areas related to the interests of new economic elites such as public education. Our analysis is based on novel subnational data from the period 1850 to 1910, enabling us to concentrate on the domestic determinants of direct taxation.
The Journal of European Public Policy just accepted our paper “The Limits of Decentralised Cooperation: The Promotion of Inclusiveness in Collective Skill Formation Systems?” (with Giuliano Bonoli) for publication. Here is the abstract:
This paper examines how collective skill formation systems balance economic objectives related to competitiveness and socialobjectives related to inclusion. Based on a simple theoretical model, we argue that there are clear limits to how much inclusiveness governments can achieve in collective skill formation systems. Firms are generally successful in resisting pressure by governments to be more inclusive because they benefit from their structural power in collective skill formation systems. Therefore, most pro-inclusiveness policies in such training systems do not require any firm-specific involvement. If pro-inclusiveness policies involve firms, employer associations typically participate in their development, trying to align the goal of inclusion with the economic interest of employers. Our two-level game model helps to understand this complex interaction between governments and firms. Empirical examples substantiate our expectations. They show how important it is to consider both levels simultaneously when analysing inclusion-oriented training policy reforms.
Wonderful news. We have just received a 4.5 year extension of our “GOVPET: Governance of Vocational and Professional Education and Training” project (together with Giuliano Bonoli and Christine Trampusch). In the second phase of GOVPET, we will, among other topics, focus on the knowledge economy and the integration of migrants into the VET system.
A short piece on PR and Gerrymandering in Switzerland just appeared in NZZ Geschichte (in German): Freisinnige Wahlkreisgeometrie (NZZ Geschichte, issue on «Geschichte der Demokratie in der Schweiz», Nr. 25, December 2019, pp. 42-43).
Good news! The Journal of Politics has accepted the paper “Disproportional Threat:
Redistricting as an Alternative to Proportional Representation” (together with André Walter). Here is the abstract:
Analyzing the voting behavior of Swiss members of parliament (MP) using newly collected individual, district, and cantonal level data, we show that both electoral disproportionalities and the insurgent parties’ electoral potential are important determinants of MP voting behavior on the adoption of proportional representation (PR). However, in contrast to the prominent electoral threat thesis, the insurgent party’s high electoral potential decreases the probability that MPs of established parties support PR. The reason for this relationship is partisan redistricting, whose relevance has so far been largely ignored in the literature. We demonstrate that adapting electoral district boundaries for political reasons, if possible in a given institutional context, can be a powerful alternative to the adoption of PR, because it allows established parties to retain parliamentary majorities even as an insurgent party’s electoral potential increases.
What a success! Former member of our CPE@HSG group, Dr. Katrin Eggenberger, just got elected to become the new Foreign Secretary (Aussenministerin) of Liechtenstein (click here). Congratulations! In the words of the wonderful Leonard Cohen (slightly paraphrased), first we take Vaduz, then we take Berlin (or Bern).