Meet the Cluster Community: Gerald Schneider

1. Why are you studying inequality?

Since my student years at the University of Zurich in the 1980s, I have been engaged in International Political Economy. Central to this are questions of redistribution and equal opportunity. My first extensive research project was on the unequal treatment of asylum seekers in the 1990s, a topic that became very relevant again 20 years later.

2. What are you working on?

Within the cluster, I am concerned on the one side with administrative inequality: why are certain groups treated differently by authorities? This is the central question here for asylum policy, naturalizations and visa issuance. Another project looks at the impact of financial crises on political polarization and economic inequality. And, of course, I have a research life outside the cluster - currently mostly on issues of economic sanctions.

3. How did you end up here?

I was a kind of a pain in the neck during the genesis of the cluster and accompanied the elaboration of the project proposal with critical questions. And because of my interest in the interactions between business and politics, it was obvious to me that I also wanted to play an active role in the cluster.

4. Recent highlight?

My recent highlight was certainly the celebration which the department held to mark my 60th birthday two weeks ago. Of course, I was thoroughly teased. And as funny as all this was, I am also proud of how many directly or indirectly supervised students have taken on responsibility and are in some cases very successful researchers themselves or have made a career elsewhere.

5. Your dream project?

The dream research project would be that I could collaborate completely unbound in terms of content with ten top students who have chosen a topic themselves and who want to talk to me from time to time without seeing this as an obligation. And if that results in a joint publication, so much the better. Of course, a political economist is not a perfect altruist!

Prof. Gerald Schneider is a Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz and PI in the two cluster projects "From Bad to Worse? Financial Crises, Polarization, and Inequality" and "Administrative Inequality: The Case of Foreign Nationals in Germany". His research interests include European Union decision making, causes and consequences of armed violence, international political economy of financial markets, bargaining theory and conflict management.