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.

Radical right and populism: A recent addition to my research agenda has emerged out of my work on Western European Christian Democracy. Many of these parties have been challenged by the rise of populist radical right parties. This has made me think about the vote base of these parties, their internal decision-making, and their implications for the center-right.



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

“Der Kompass der CDU” by P. Hemmelmann and “SPD. Eine Partei zwischen Burnout und Euphorie” by S. Gaschke. In Jahrbuch Extremismus and Demokratie, eds. U. Backes et al. Baden-Baden: Nomos (forthcoming), invited review.

“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).


Book project

Among other projects, I am currently working on a monograph, based on my doctoral thesis. Using a mixed-methods approach, this research explains why Christian democratic parties in Western Europe have varied in their ability to adapt to changing social and political conditions. My research draws on extensive archival work in several European countries and was funded by Nuffield College and the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford.


Please get in touch for information on further working papers and projects.



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:


Centre for Elections, Media, and Participation (CEMaP), University of Exeter, Exeter (scheduled).

ECPR General Conference, Hamburg.

DVPW Annual Conference, Frankfurt.

Technos International College, Tokyo.


ECPR General Conference, Oslo.

Oxford Forum, Oxford.

PSA General Conference, Glasgow.

Modern European History Workshop, Cambridge.

Keble College, Oxford.


APSA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.

Workshop on the Origins and Evolution of Political Institutions, Sciences Po, Paris.

CES Graduate Workshop on Comparative Historical Research, Philadelphia.


APSA Annual Meeting, San Francisco.

ECPR General Conference, Montreal.

Nuffield College, Graduate Student Conference, Oxford.

Progressive Zentrum, Berlin.


Center for Socio-Legal Studies Discussion Group, Oxford.