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.

Foreign Secretary of Liechtenstein

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).

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.

Socio-Economic Review Impact Factor

Good news from Socio-Economic Review. The 2018 Impact Factor for SER is 3.328. With this score, SER remains in the top 10% of journals in both political science and sociology.  SER ranked number 6th in Sociology this year and 16th in Political Science. In economics, SER remains #42 which is the 12th percentile.

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.

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.