About pemmenegger

I am political scientist at the University of St.Gallen.

Call for applications: PhD position

In the context of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project “Democratic Consolidation in Switzerland, 1848-1918: Suffrage Restrictions, Redistricting, and Direct Democracy”, the Department of Political Science at the University of St. Gallen invites applications for a PhD Position in the research group of Professor Patrick Emmenegger. The SNSF project examines the democratic consolidation of Switzerland after 1848 with a particular focus on the causes and effects of suffrage restrictions, partisan redistricting, and direct democracy. For further information on the project, please go to www.pemmenegger.com/research-projects/democracy


  • Development and conduct of own PhD project in the framework of the overall SNSF project
  • Participation in the Department’s doctoral programme, which offers advanced methodological and substantive training as well as professional development


  • Master’s degree in political science or a related discipline
  • Interest in democratization and comparative politics
  • Motivation to pursue academic career and interest in theory-driven empirical research
  • Knowledge of French and/or German

The starting date for this position is July 1, 2019 (or upon agreement). Funding is available for 48 months, with a gross annual salary starting from approximately 47’000 CHF (following SNSF regulations for such positions).

The PhD candidate will be integrated in a national research team encompassing researchers located at the Universities of Zurich and St. Gallen. The SNSF project is coordinated by the three co-applicants Prof. Patrick Emmenegger (University of St. Gallen, https://pemmenegger.com/), Prof. Lucas Leemann (University of Zurich, https://lucasleemann.ch/) and Dr. André Walter (University of St. Gallen, https://andrewalter.netlify.com/).

Applicants should send their full application (in German or English) – including cover letter, CV, examples of their academic work (e.g. their MA thesis or seminar papers), copies of relevant certificates and the contact details of two academic references – to Patrick Emmenegger (patrick.emmenegger@unisg.ch) no later than May 31, 2019.

For further inquiry, please visit the Department’s website (www.seps.unisg.ch) or send an email to Patrick Emmenegger.


Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation

Great news! We have just received a grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation for the project “Democratic Consolidation in Switzerland, 1848-1918: Suffrage Restrictions, Redistricting, and Direct Democracy” (together with Lucas Leemann and André Walter). We look forward to getting started on this four-year project!

New publication in European Journal of Industrial Relations

The European Journal of Industrial Relations just accepted our paper “Social versus Liberal Collective Skill Formation Systems? A Comparative-Historical Analysis of the Role of Trade Unions in German and Swiss VET”. Here is the abstract:

We distinguish between social and liberal collective skill formation systems, and demonstrate that the German VET system is a social system with a strong (parity) role for trade unions in its governance. In contrast, unions play a considerably weaker role in the more liberal Swiss system, which privileges employers’ interests. We show that the different position of unions in VET systems has the expected consequences on a range of indicators. We further examine why unions are less important in Switzerland, and show how, after the First World War, differences in the institutional environment and power resources of the union movements set Germany and Switzerland on different paths, which are still visible today.

New Contributions on VET

Two new contributions on VET governance in Switzerland:

Together with Lina Seitzl, I have penned the “Expertenbericht zur systemischen Steuerung der Berufsbildung in der Schweiz”, which has now been submitted to the Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI) for evaluation.

The SGAB-Newsletter has covered my work with Alexandra Strebel and Lukas Graf on the Swiss Organisations of the World of Work (OdA). URL: https://www.sgab-srfp.ch/de/newsletter/die-vielen-motoren-der-berufsbildung

New publication in Electoral Studies

My paper “Majority Protection? The Origins of Distorted Proportional Representation” (co-authored with André Walter) has just been accepted for publication in Electoral Studies. Here is the abstract: 

Not all proportional representation (PR) systems are equally proportional. Some PR systems favour large parties and are thus ‘distorted’. What explains the origins of distorted PR? Research on the adoption of PR has identified both consensual and conflict- ridden roads to PR. We argue that these two roads to PR do not lead to the same outcome. We expect the adoption of PR by consensus to result in less proportional PR systems compared to cases in which PR is forced upon powerful parties. Empirically, we find no evidence that powerful parties introduced PR to grant minority groups better political representation. Instead, we show that when PR was adopted with the support of the most powerful party, reforms often resulted in distorted PR and small seat losses for the most powerful party.

New paper in Socio-Economic Review

My contribution to the book symposium on Brooke Harrington’s “Capital without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent” will soon appear in the Socio-Economic Review. The paper is entitled: “Masters of grey zones and elusive champions of the tax ‘optimization’ industry”.