New paper in Swiss Political Science Review

The Swiss Political Science Review just accepted the paper “Torn Between International Cooperation and National Sovereignty: Voter Attitudes in Trade-Off Situations in Switzerland” (together with Lukas Lauener, Silja Häusermann and Stefanie Walter). Here is the abstract:

This Research Note examines voter preferences in Swiss-EU relations. We identify large shares of cross-pressured voters, i.e., citizens who support the bilateral treaties but wish to either control immigration into Switzerland or oppose a liberalization of social protection measures. Voters experiencing a trade-off between immigration control and international cooperation are mainly located on the Right. Their share decreased between 2015 and 2019, whereas the share of neutral voters sharply increased. Moreover, negotiations about an Institutional Framework Agreement between Switzerland and the EU have given rise to a new trade-off – namely between social protection and international cooperation – with cross-pressured voters mainly concentrated on the Left. This tension has generated a high share of undecided voters. When pressured to decide on these trade-offs, cross-pressured and neutral voters opt for the bilateral treaties over immigration control, whereas they prefer social protection over the new agreement. Partisanship is a strong predictor of these choices.

Associate Professor Dominik Schraff

Great news! Dominik Schraff, former member of the CPE @ HSG group and currently senior researcher at the Center for International and Comparative Studies, ETH Zurich (on a SNF Ambizione Grant) will start as Associate Professor at Aalborg University in November 2021. Congratulations. Well done!

New publication in Regulation and Governance

Regulation & Governance just accepted our paper “State-Led Bricolage and the Extension of Collective Governance: Hybridity in the Swiss Skill Formation System” (with Lukas Graf and Alexandra Strebel). Here is the abstract:

This paper explores the extension of collective governance to sectors without collective governance tradition. We introduce the concept of state-led bricolage to analyze the expansion of the Swiss apprenticeship training system – in which employer associations fulfil core collective governance tasks – to economic sectors, in which training had previously followed a school-based and state-oriented logic. In deindustrializing societies, these sectors are key for the survival of collectively governed training systems. Through a mixed-methods analysis, we examine the reform process that led to the creation of new intermediary organizations that enable collective governance in these sectors. In addition, we compare the organizational features of these organizations with the respective organizations in the traditional crafts and industry sectors. We find that the new organizations result from state-led bricolage. They are hybrid organizations that reflect some of the bricoleur’s core policy goals and critically build on the combination of associational and state-oriented institutional logics. 

New publication in Journal of European Public Policy

Good news. The Journal of European Public Policy just accepted the “Does War Exposure Increase Support for State Penetration? Evidence from a Natural Experiment” (with André Walter). Here is the abstract:

A vast literature argues that war exposure has left an enduring footprint on state penetration of society, both with regard to taxation and state intervention into the economy. In this way, interstate warfare has contributed to declining levels of inequality. Yet, several questions remain. Most notably, it is unclear whether war increases popular support for penetration or if changes in taxation and economic intervention are primarily elite-driven. Existing research rests mainly at the macro level and is therefore unable to distinguish between the two mechanisms. In this paper, we employ a natural experiment to investigate whether direct war exposure affects popular preferences for state penetration in the post-war period. We use accidental bombardments of Swiss municipalities during the Second World War as treatments to examine whether popular preferences expressed in direct democratic votes on tax policies and economic intervention in war-affected municipalities followed different trajectories in the post-war period compared to municipalities that were not the target of accidental bombardments. We show that war exposure increased popular support for state intervention into the economy, but we do not find an effect of accidental bombardments on popular support for more progressive taxes or the extension of fiscal capacity. 

New publication in Theory and Society

Great news. Theory & Society just accepted my paper “Agency in Historical Institutionalism: Coalitional Work in the Creation, Maintenance, and Change of Institutions”. Here is the abstract:

Institutionalism gives priority to structure over agency. Yet institutions have never developed and operated without the intervention of interested groups. This paper develops a conceptual framework for the role of agency in historical institutionalism. Based on recent contributions following the ‘coalitional turn’ and drawing on insights from sociological institutionalism, it argues that agency plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of social coalitions that stabilize but also challenge institutions. Without such agency, no coalition can be created, maintained, or changed. Similarly, without a supporting coalition, no contested institution can survive. Yet, due to collective action problems, such coalitional work is challenging. This coalitional perspective offers a robust role for agency in historical institutionalism, but it also explains why institutions remain stable despite agency. In addition, this paper forwards several portable propositions that allow for the identification of who is likely to develop agency and what these actors do.

New postdoctoral researcher

Great news! Anna Wilson will join the GOVPET team @ HSG soon. She obtained one of the prestigious International Postdoctoral Fellowships and will continue her research on the training and hiring behavior of firms in collective skill formation systems. I am excited to welcome her in St. Gallen!

New publication in BJIR

The British Journal of Industrial Relations just accepted our paper “New Interest Associations in a Neo-Corporatist System: Adapting the Swiss Training System to the Service Economy”. Here is the abstract:

Collective skill formation systems need to adapt to economic change, most notably the expansion of the service economy. However, deeply anchored in the craft and industrial sectors, these systems rely on neo-corporatist institutions to undergird firms’ training provision, which are often missing in the service sector. We show that Switzerland’s voluntaristic approach to interest intermediation provided the flexibility needed to extend vocational training to economic sectors without neo-corporatist institutions. Yet, these adaptations resulted in the emergence of interest associations characterised by low levels of generalisability and governability. These new associations co-exist with neo-corporatist ones, rendering the overall training system surprisingly heterogeneous.

New publication in JoPP

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.