New publication in JEPP

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.

New publication in JoP

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.

New publication in EPSR

European Political Science Review just accepted our paper “When Dominant Parties Adopt Proportional Representation: The Mysterious Case of Belgium” (with André Walter). Here is the abstract:

As the first country to introduce proportional representation (PR), Belgium has attracted considerable attention. Yet, we find the existing explanations for the 1899 breakthrough lacking. At the time of reform, the Catholic Party was politically dominant, advantaged by the electoral system, and facing reformist Socialists. Nevertheless, they single-handedly changed the electoral system and lost 26 seats in the first election under PR.We argue that the Catholics had good reasons to adopt PR. Majoritarian rules tend to create high levels of uncertainty because they provide incentives for non-dominant parties to cooperate. Such electoral coalitions are facilitated by multidimensional policy spaces that make electoral coalitions other than between nonsocialist parties possible. PR reduces the effectiveness of cooperation between non-dominant parties, but such certainty comes at a price. In addition, in presence of dominant parties, divisions over electoral system reform often result in intra-party conflicts that may be more decisive than inter-party conflicts.

New Publication in Transfer

Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research has just accepted our paper “Social Partner Involvement in Collective Skill Formation Governance: A Comparison of Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland” (together with Lina Seitzl). Here is the abstract:

Dual vocational education and training with social partner involvement in its governance can typically be found in collective skill formation systems. This paper reviews the diversity of collective skill formation systems with a particular focus on their systemic governance. In particular, we look at the type of actors that are involved as well as at how the systemic governance is organized in terms of corporatist decision-making bodies. The paper shows that there are important cross-national differences. First, the social partners do not always participate in the decision-making at the political-strategic level. Second, social partner involvement is not always on equal terms (parity) with trade unions being in some cases less strongly involved. Third, differences in VET governance are particularly pronounced at the technical-operational level. Empirically, the paper focuses on the five prototypical collective skill formation systems Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

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


  • 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,, Prof. Lucas Leemann (University of Zurich, and Dr. André Walter (University of St. Gallen,

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 ( no later than May 31, 2019.

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