Research

My research interests include:

Party politics: What makes political parties succeed or fail? Why do many European parties that were already around 100 years ago still exist today, while others have disappeared? Why have many new parties succeeded in establishing themselves, whereas other parties have failed to gain lasting support? While my interest in these and other questions is not restricted to a particular area of the world, I have a special expertise in the study of European democracies. To explain the varying trajectory of European parties, I have found party organization and intra-party politics to be of particularly importance.

Institutional development: My research on the formation and development of party organizations and practices of parties’ internal decision-making has sparked my interest in the field of institutional development more broadly. Why do political actors choose some institutions, like electoral systems or policies, over others? Why do institutions evolve in the way they do? How do actors try to change institutions and what makes their efforts to do so likely to succeed or fail? In my work, I contribute to the recent theoretical advances in the literature on endogenous institutional change and apply these insights to substantive empirical problems in the field of political organizations, public policy and political economy.

History and politics: Historical cases are an invaluable data source to understand and explain contemporary political phenomena. My work on party politics and institutional development has benefited enormously from archival research. I have spent several months researching in Germany, Italy, France and Austria. I have experienced that, in particular, comparative-historical analysis has been a fruitful approach to engage with puzzles motivating recent scholarship in political science.

Religion and politics: A recent addition to my research agenda has emerged out of my work on Western European Christian Democracy. I have noted the importance of religion in guiding essential decisions in the consolidation of European post-war democracies. This has made me think about the role of religion in processes of democratization, democratic consolidation and democratic breakdown.

 

Publications:

I. Articles

“Two of the Same Kind? The Rise of the AfD and its Implications for the CDU/CSU” German Politics and Society, 36 (1): 84–104.

 

II. Book chapters

“The CDU. Representation and Representation Deficits within a People’s Party.” In Parteien und Soziale Ungleichheit, ed. E. Wiesendahl. Wiesbaden: Springer, pp. 89–121, 2017 (in German).

“The Electoral Potential of Right- and Left-wing Extremist Parties. Unideological Protest Vote?” In Extremismus in Deutschland, eds. G. Hirscher and E. Jesse. Baden-Baden: Nomos, pp. 397–434, 2013 (with Viola Neu, in German).

 

III. Further publications

“Divided Unity. Factionalism in Christian Democratic Parties in Western Europe.” Mitteilungen des Instituts für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung, 20 (1): 79–88, 2014 (in German).

 

Selected working papers:

“Organizational Choices and Organizational Adaptability. Christian Democratic Parties in Western Europe” (book project)

“The Role of Failed Plans in Institutional Change and Comparative Research” (with Sukriti Issar, under review)

In defense of moderate factionalism. The non-linear relationship between factionalism
and party adaptability

The myth of left-right dynamics. The electoral system and the end of French Christian Democracy

Toward a new theory of path dependence.

 

Awards:

2017 Travel Grant, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2016 Completion Grant, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2016 Writing Up Award, Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford

2016 Travel Grant, American Political Science Association

2016 Travel Grant, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2015 Travel Grant, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2015 Nuffield – Yale Exchange Program, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2014 DPhil Studentship, Nuffield College and Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford

2014 PhD Studentship, London School of Economics (declined)

2014 PhD Scholarship, European University Institute and DAAD (declined)

2012 Studentship, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2011 Scholarship Program for Outstanding Students, Konrad Adenauer Foundation

 

Selected talks and presentations:

2017 Theorizing the Institutional Development of Political Parties. ECPR General Conference, Oslo.

2017 Is the UK Entering a Stage of Political Realignment? Panel discussion, Oxford Forum.

2017 The Organizational Origins of Party Vulnerability. PSA General Conference, Glasgow.

2017 The Importance of Sequence and Timing in Explaining Factionalism in the Italian Democrazia Cristiana. Modern European History Workshop, Cambridge.

2017 The West’s March toward Liberalism. Was 2016 a Fatal Blow? Panel discussion, Keble College, Oxford.

2016 Organization, Factionalism and the Collapse of Italian Christian Democracy. APSA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.

2016 The Role of Failed, Fumbled or Foiled Plans in Institutional Change. with Sukriti Issar. Workshop on the Origins and Evolution of Political Institutions, Sciences Po, Paris.

2016 Exogenous Shocks and Organizational Resilience. The Case of Western European Christian Democracy. CES Graduate Workshop on Comparative Historical Research, Philadelphia.

2015 A Path-dependent Approach to Party Survivability. APSA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, September 05.

2015 The Effects of Party Organization on Christian Democratic Survivability in Western Europe. ECPR General Conference, Montreal.

2015 Why Christian Democracy failed in France and why this matters. Nuffield College, Graduate Student Conference, Oxford.

2015 Participation and Representation within Political Parties. Progressive Zentrum, Berlin.

2014 Factionalism in Western European Christian Democratic Parties. Center for Socio-Legal Studies Discussion Group, Oxford.