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:

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”.

New publication in Regulation & Governance

Regulation & Governance just accepted my manuscript “Why Do Junctures Become Critical? Political Discourse, Agency, and Joint Belief Shifts in Comparative Perspective” (co-authored with Adrian Rinscheid, Burkard Eberleinand Volker Schneider. Here is the abstract:

Why do junctures become critical in some cases but not in others? Building on the critical juncture framework and perspectives on the formation and diffusion of beliefs, we develop a theoretically parsimonious and empirically traceable account of divergence in institutional outcomes. By illuminating the role of agency and joint belief shifts we further open the ‘black box’ of critical junctures.In particular, we develop the argument that the role agents play is conditioned by conflict lines that structure an institutional field before a juncture sets in. Empirically, we trace political discourses around the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Canada, Germany, and Japan using Discourse Network Analysis. Through comparative investigation, we show empirically that discursive interactions during potential critical junctures indicate institutional outcomes that are shaped by causally relevant historical legacies.

New publication in Comparative Political Studies

Comparative Political Studies just accepted our manuscript “Women-Friendliness in European Asylum Policies: The Role of Women’s Political Representation and Opposition to Non-EU Immigration” (together with Katarina Stigwall). Here is the abstract:

“Based on the 1951 Refugee Convention, traditional conceptions of refugees typically referred to the politically active male persecuted for his obstructive acts against a communist regime. Yet, today’s asylum seekers are increasingly female with very different experiences of persecution and different reasons to flee their countries of origin.Not all states have updated their asylum policies to reflect the specific situation of women – an issue the refugee crisis in 2015 brought to glaring light. We develop a Women-Friendliness in Asylum Index, which reveals clusters of states within the EU with a solid implementation of women’s rights in their asylum recognition and reception framework, and others whom have yet to adapt their asylum policies to consider women’s needs. In addition, we show that women’s political representation is a key factor in explaining women-friendly asylum policies, while critical attitudes towards immigrants from non-EU countries retard the gendered revision of European asylum policies.”

New publication in SPSR

The Swiss Political Science Review just accepted the paper “National Sovereignty vs. International Cooperation: Policy Choices in Trade-Off Situations” (co-authored with Silja Häusermann und Stefanie Walter). Here is the abstract:

The trade-off between international cooperation gains and national sovereignty has become increasingly salient in recent years. This paper examines how voters assess this trade-off in Switzerland, focusing on the choice between the economic benefits of EU integration versus sovereign immigration control. Using survey data, we identify voters for whom this choice is not clear, either because they are cross-pressured (favouring Swiss-EU bilateral treaties, while opposing increased immigration) or because they do not have clear preferences. We show that these are sizeable groups within the Swiss electorate and that in particular the potentially cross-pressured mainly consist of politically mobilized, high-income voters, supportive of right-wing parties. Among the potentially cross-pressured and voters with indistinct preferences, partisan affiliation with the SVP strongly predicts a preference for immigration control above sustaining cooperation with the EU. Beyond this, our findings suggest that political variables have stronger explanatory power than individual-level economic vulnerabilities in predicting choice.