Research Projects

I am involved in the following research projects.

German Policy Agendas as Part of the Comparative Agendas Project

LocationUniversity of Konstanz
Own RolePostdoctoral Research Fellow (joint in Sep. 2021)
Funding Committee on Research (AFF) at the University of Konstanz; German Research Foundation.
Funding Period(ongoing)

The German agenda-setting project is developing several data sets on issue attention and policy-making in Germany. The following data are coded (1978-2013): Most important problem surveys, media, lobby groups, parliamentary questions, executive speeches, bill proposals and adopted laws. All data are classified by policy topic according to the Comparative Policy Agendas system.

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“Get the Word Out.” The Formation and Political Impact of Judicial Opinion-Writing

LocationMannheim Centre for European Social Research – University of Mannheim
Own RolePrinciple Investigator
Funding Mannheim Centre for European Social Research
Funding Periodsince 2020 (currently running)

How do courts exercise political power through opinion-writing? To understand the influence of courts, current research focuses on the result of judicial decisions; namely, a referral by a plaintiff is either justified or not justified. This project applies a broader perspective on the influence of judicial opinions. Instead of focusing on the general result it is necessary to account for the substantive variance in opinion-writing. The project uses judicial text to investigate the strategies judges use to write their opinions. On the one hand, judges develop arguments strategically to influence societal developments. On the other hand, judges are constrained by the political environment which requires them to alter their arguments strategically. It is important to better understand judicial opinion-writing as courts settle controversial political and societal issues through their opinions.

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Measuring a Common Space and the Dynamics of Reform Positions.
Non-Standard Tools, Non-Standard Actors

LocationCollaborative Research Center 884 – University of Mannheim
Own RolePostdoctoral Research Fellow
Funding German Research Foundation
Funding Period2018-2021

The C4 project is tasked with developing useful quantitative tools that make spatial placement of political actors possible. Having comparative measures enables researchers to test theories and has proven powerful in explaining important attributes of the political economy of reforms.

The C4 research team shares the common objective: to strengthen empirical tools that spatially capture the placement of actors in a common space. Using mass surveys, political speeches, and roll call data, we apply our empirical tools to test theories in varied substantive fields, including political economy, political representation, partisan organizations, judicial politics, and mass voting behavior.

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The German Federal Constitutional Court as a Veto Player [The Constitutional Court Database]

LocationGeorg-August-University Göttingen / University of Mannheim
Own RoleInitially: Ph.D. Research Fellow | Currently: Lead Contributor
Funding German Research Foundation; Mannheim Centre for European Social Research
Funding Period2011-2013 [extended cost neutral until 2015]

The project wants to investigate when and under which conditions the German Federal Constitutional Court annuls statutes and in doing so becomes an effective veto player in Germany’s political system. To examine this empirically the project will conduct studies on the basis of legislative procedures and rulings of the Federal Constitutional Court from 1976 to 2009.

The Constitutional Court Database (CCDB) is the major outcome of the research project. The figure summarizes its general setup, which allows for assessing the political and societal role of decisions by the German Federal Constitutional Court. We have analyzed all 2006 decisions by the Court’s senates between 1972 and 2010. This amounts to 3284 proceedings, which have been coded based on criteria relevant to political science and law but also to the general public.

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