Featured Publications

Steffen Eckhard, Laurin Friedrich (2022): Linguistic Features of Public Service Encounters: How Spoken Administrative Language Affects Citizen Satisfaction. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory



Spoken administrative language is a critical element in the relationship between citizens and the state, especially when it comes to face-to-face interactions between officials and citizens during the delivery of public services. But preceding work offers little insights into the verbal features of street-level bureaucracy. Drawing on communication studies, we argue that administrative language differs along both a relational and an informational linguistic component. To test the consequentiality of this theory, we design a factorial survey experiment with a representative sample of 1,402 German citizens. Participants evaluated audio recordings of a hypothetical service encounter where we systematically varied the language used by the official and the service decision, measuring participants’ service satisfaction as the main outcome. Based on regression analysis, we find that relational elements of administrative language improve citizen satisfaction, independent of the service outcome, but that the effect does not hold for the informational component. These findings emphasize the importance of relational communication in citizen-state interactions, which tends to be neglected in public administration theory and practice.

Ariane Bertogg, Tiziana Nazio, Susanne Strauß (2021): Work-Family Balance in the Second Half of Life: Caregivers’ Decisions Regarding Retirement and Working Time Reduction in Europe. Social Policy and Administration 55 (3): 485–500.



This article investigates how different types of informal caregiving – upward, lateral and downward – impact men's and women's decisions to retire or to reduce their working hours, and how welfare policy characteristics moderate the linkage between informal care provision and employment participation. The analyses are based on six waves from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We exploit the data's longitudinal structure by applying fixed-effects regression models with lagged, time-varying country characteristics. The results show that, in most cases, upward caregiving to parents is less relevant for deciding to remain in the labour market than lateral care (especially to siblings, friends and neighbours) and downward grandchild care. The welfare context moderates the impact of caregiving on labour market participation, with variation between the different types of care provided.

Marius R. Busemeyer (2021): Financing the Welfare State in Times of Extreme Crisis: Public Support for Health Care Spending During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany. Journal of European Public Policy 29 (3).



Employing new and original survey data collected in three waves (April/May and November 2020 as well as May 2021) in Germany, this paper studies the dynamics of individual-level support for additional health care spending. A first major finding is that, so far, health care spending preferences have not radically changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, at least at the aggregate level. A more detailed analysis reveals, secondly, that individual-level support for additional spending on health care is strongly conditioned by performance perceptions and, to a lesser extent, general political trust. Citizens who regard the system as badly (well) prepared to cope with the crisis are more likely to support (oppose) additional spending. Higher levels of political trust are also positively associated with spending support, but to a lesser degree. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for policy-making and welfare state politics in the post-pandemic era.

Claudia Diehl, Christian Hunkler (2022): Vaccination-Related Attitudes and Behavior Across Birth Cohorts: Evidence From Germany. PLOS ONE 17 (2).



We use German KiGGS data to add to existing knowledge about trends in vaccination-related attitudes and behavior. Looking at vaccinations against measles, we assess whether a low confidence in vaccination and vaccination complacency is particularly prevalent among parents whose children were born somewhat recently, as compared to parents whose children belong to earlier birth cohorts. We further analyze how these attitudes relate to vaccination rates in the corresponding birth cohorts, and which sociodemographic subgroups are more likely to have vaccination-hesitant attitudes and to act upon them. Results show that the share of parents who report “deliberate” reasons against vaccination has decreased across birth cohorts; at the same time, the children of these parents have become less likely to be vaccinated. This suggests that vaccination-hesitant parents became more willing to act upon their beliefs towards the turn of the millennium. Regarding efforts to convince parents and the public about the benefits of vaccination, the number of parents who think that vaccinations have serious side effects, or that it is better for a child to live through a disease, may have become smaller—but these parents are more determined to follow their convictions. Interestingly, the trend we describe started before the Internet became a widespread source of health-related information.

Aina Gallego, Thomas Kurer (2022): Automation, Digitalization, and Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace: Implications for Political Behavior. Annual Review of Political Science 25.



New technologies have been a key driver of labor market change in recent decades. There are renewed concerns that technological developments in areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence will destroy jobs and create political upheaval. This article reviews the vibrant debate about the economic consequences of recent technological change and then discusses research about how digitalization may affect political participation, vote choice, and policy preferences. It is increasingly well established that routine workers have been the main losers of recent technological change and disproportionately support populist parties. However, at the same time, digitalization also creates a large group of economic winners who support the political status quo. The mechanisms connecting technology-related workplace risks to political behavior and policy demands are less well understood. Voters may fail to fully comprehend the relative importance of different causes of structural economic change and misattribute blame to other factors. We conclude with a list of pressing research questions.

Elena Gerdiken, Max Reinwald, Florian Kunze (2021): Outcomes of Technostress at Work: A Meta-Analysis. Academy of Management Proceedings 2021 (1): 11807.



In this paper, we provide the first meta-analysis of 96 empirical studies (N = 34,350) of technostress and its relationship with a wide range of employee outcomes. This novel analysis allowed us to sparse out the most prominent and powerful technostress effects in work-related settings. Significant negative relationships were found between technostress and employees’ job performance (ρ = –.07), innovation (ρ = –.20), job satisfaction (ρ = –.23), continuous usage intentions (ρ = –.34), and end-user satisfaction (ρ = –.32). While, technostress displayed significant and positive relationships with employees’ turnover intentions (ρ = .13), work engagement (ρ = .30), job burnout (ρ = .31), work-to-family conflict (ρ = .41), and techno-exhaustion (ρ = .60). In general, technostress demonstrated the strongest effects on health-related employee measures, followed by attitudinal and behavioral measures. Beyond providing estimates of population correlations, we addressed several important gaps in the technostress literature, including the role of methodological characteristics as moderators. Especially, we provide evidence for common method variance biasing the relationships between technostress and health-realted outcomes and discuss potential remedies.

Katharina Hecht (2021): ‘It’s the Value That We Bring’: Performance Pay and Top Income Earners’ Perceptions of Inequality. Socio-Economic Review.



Though the literature on perceptions of inequality and studies of ‘elites’ have identified the importance of meritocratic beliefs in legitimating inequality, little is known about the role of pay setting processes in sustaining ideals of meritocracy. Drawing on 30 in-depth interviews with UK-based top income earners working mainly in finance, I analyse how top income earners perceive economic inequality. My study highlights the crucial role of performance pay for perceptions that top incomes are meritocratically deserved. Participants expressed the view that performance pay, an increasingly prevalent pay-setting practice, ensures that top incomes reflect a share of economic ‘value created’ for shareholders, clients or investors. Focusing on narrow, economic criteria of evaluation perceived as objective, the majority of respondents (‘performance pay meritocrats’) justified any income difference as deserved if it reflects economic contribution. Meanwhile, a minority of respondents (‘social reflexivists’) applied broader evaluative criteria including distributive justice and social contributions.

Philip J. Howe, Edina Szöcsik, Christina I. Zuber (2021): Nationalism, Class, and Status: How Nationalists Use Policy Offers and Group Appeals to Attract a New Electorate. Comparative Political Studies, August.



How do nationalist parties attract votes? This article develops a novel supply-side explanation centered on status, arguing that nationalists succeed by combining group appeals to the nation with policy promises to improve the nation’s political and cultural status and the socio-economic status of its median member. Drawing on several original datasets, this expectation is tested on Imperial Austria in 1907, where multiple nationalist parties competed in first-time mass elections. We find that group appeals to the nation and promises to improve its political and cultural status resonate very well with agricultural workers, whose economic sector was declining, but not with industrial workers, whose sector was on the rise. By contrast, offering social policy helps nationalists among industrial workers, but less clearly so among agricultural workers. This article shows that nationalist mobilization is not a mere distraction from class politics; rather, the politics of nationalism, class, and status are closely intertwined.

Pooyan Khashabi, Tobias Kretschmer, Nick Zubanov, Matthias Heinz, Guido Friebel (2021): Market Competition and the Effectiveness of Performance Pay. Organization Science 32 (2): 334–51.



It is well established that the effectiveness of pay-for-performance (PfP) schemes depends on employee- and organization-specific factors. However, less is known about the moderating role of external forces such as market competition. Our theory posits that competition generates two counteracting effects—the residual market and competitor response effects—that vary with competition and jointly generate a curvilinear relationship between PfP effectiveness and competition. Weak competition discourages effort response to PfP because there is little residual market to gain from rivals, whereas strong competition weakens incentives because an offsetting response from competitors becomes more likely. PfP hence has the strongest effect under moderate competition. Field data from a bakery chain and its competitive environment confirm our theory and let us refute several alternative interpretations.

Tanja Kupisch, Nadine Kolb, Yulia Rodina, Olga Urek (2021): Foreign Accent in Pre- and Primary School Heritage Bilinguals. Languages 6 (2): 96.



Previous research has shown that the two languages of early bilingual children can influence each other, depending on the linguistic property, while adult bilinguals predominantly show influence from the majority language to the minority (heritage) language. While this observed shift in influence patterns is probably related to a shift in dominance between early childhood and adulthood, there is little data documenting it. Our study investigates the perceived global accent in the two languages of German-Russian bilingual children in Germany, comparing 4–6-year-old (preschool) children and 7–9-year-old (primary school) children. The results indicate that in German the older children sound less accented than the younger children, while the opposite is true for Russian. This suggests that the primary school years are a critical period for heritage language maintenance.

Thomas Kurer, Briitta van Staalduinen (2022): Disappointed Expectations: Downward Mobility and Electoral Change. American Political Science Review , 1-17.



Postindustrial occupational change has ended an era of unprecedented upward mobility. We examine the political implications of this immense structural shift by introducing the concept of status discordance, which we operationalize as the difference between status expectations formed during childhood and outcomes realized in adulthood. We leverage German household panel data and predictive modeling to provide empirical estimates of status expectations based on childhood circumstances and parental background. The analysis reveals that political dissatisfaction is widespread among voters who fall short of intergenerational status expectations. We show that such dissatisfaction is associated with higher abstention rates, less mainstream party support, and more radical voting. Moreover, we explore variation in status discordance by gender, education, and occupation, which influence the choice between radical left and right parties. Our findings highlight how expectations about opportunities underlie generational voting patterns and shed light on the ongoing breakdown of the postwar political consensus.

Max Reinwald, Johannes Zaia, Florian Kunze (2022):  Shine Bright Like a Diamond: When Signaling Creates Glass Cliffs for Female Executives. Journal of Management.



There is mixed support for the glass cliff hypothesis that firms will more likely appoint female candidates into top management positions when in crisis. We trace the inconsistent findings back to an underdeveloped theoretical link and deficient identification strategies. Using signaling theory, we suggest that crisis firms appoint female top managers to signal change to the market and argue that the effect is context-dependent. In a field study of 26,156 executive appointments in U.S. firms between 2000 and 2016, we exploit a regression discontinuity to test for the causal impact of firm crisis status on the likelihood of female top management appointments and for moderators of the effect. We find that crisis status leads to a significant increase in female top management appointments and that crisis (vs. noncrisis) firms are more likely to frame female appointments as change-related in press releases. Importantly, the presence of the glass cliff effect hinges on attributes of the signaler (absence of another female executive), signal (appointment type), and receiver (investor attention). The findings robustly evidence the glass cliff and our theoretical extensions.

Katrin Schmelz, Samuel Bowles (2022): Opposition to Voluntary and Mandated COVID-19 Vaccination as a Dynamic Process: Evidence and Policy Implications of Changing Beliefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 119.



The challenge of securing adherence to public health policies is compounded when an emerging threat and a set of unprecedented remedies are not fully understood among the general public. The evolution of citizens' attitudes toward vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic offers psychologically and sociologically grounded insights that enrich the conventional incentives- and constraints-based approach to policy design. We thus contribute to a behavioral science of policy compliance during public health emergencies of the kind that we may increasingly face in the future. From early in the pandemic, we have tracked the same individuals, providing a lens into the conditions under which people's attitudes toward voluntary and mandated vaccinations change, providing essential information for COVID-19 policy not available from cross-section data.

Liliana Abreu, Anke Koebach, Oscar Diaz, Samuel Carleial, Anke Hoeffler, Wolfgang Stojetz, Hanna Freudenreich, Patricia Justino & Tilman Brück (2021): Life With Corona: Increased Gender Differences in Aggression and Depression Symptoms Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Burden in Germany. Frontiers in Psychology 12, 2705.



Gender differences (GD) in mental health have come under renewed scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. While rapidly emerging evidence indicates a deterioration of mental health in general, it remains unknown whether the pandemic will have an impact on GD in mental health. To this end, we investigate the association of the pandemic and its countermeasures affecting everyday life, labor, and households with changes in GD in aggression, anxiety, depression, and the somatic symptom burden. We analyze cross-sectional data from 10,979 individuals who live in Germany and who responded to the online survey “Life with Corona” between October 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. We estimate interaction effects from generalized linear models. The analyses reveal no pre-existing GD in aggression but exposure to COVID-19 and COVID-19 countermeasures is associated with sharper increases in aggression in men than in women. GD in anxiety decreased among participants with children in the household (with men becoming more anxious). We also observe pre-existing and increasing GD with regards to the severity of depression, with women presenting a larger increase in symptoms during the hard lockdown or with increasing stringency. In contrast to anxiety, GD in depression increased among participants who lived without children (women > men), but decreased for individuals who lived with children; here, men converged to the levels of depression presented by women. Finally, GD in somatic symptoms decreased during the hard lockdown (but not with higher stringency), with men showing a sharper increase in symptoms, especially when they lived with children or alone. Taken together, the findings indicate an increase in GD in mental health as the pandemic unfolded in Germany, with rising female vulnerability to depression and increasing male aggression. The combination of these two trends further suggests a worrying mental health situation for singles and families. Our results have important policy implications for the German health system and public health policy. This public health challenge requires addressing the rising burden of pandemic-related mental health challenges and the distribution of this burden between women and men, within families and for individuals who live alone.

Nils B. Weidmann, Gerlinde Theunissen (2021): Estimating Local Inequality from Nighttime Lights. Remote Sensing 13 (22).



Economic inequality at the local level has been shown to be an important predictor of people’s political perceptions and preferences. However, research on these questions is hampered by the fact that local inequality is difficult to measure and systematic data collections are rare, in particular in countries of the Global South. We propose a new measure of local inequality derived from nighttime light (NTL) emissions data. Our measure corresponds to the local inequality in per capita nighttime light emissions, using VIIRS-derived nighttime light emissions data and spatial population data from WorldPop. We validate our estimates using local inequality estimates from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for a sample of African countries. Our results show that nightlight-based inequality estimates correspond well to those derived from survey data, and that the relationship is not due to structural factors such as differences between urban and rural regions. We also present predictive results, where we approximate the (survey-based) level of local inequality with our nighttime light indicator. This illustrates how our approach can be used for new cases where no other data are available.

Felix Wolter, Andreas Diekmann (2021): False Positives and the ‘More-is-Better’ Assumption in Sensitive Question Research: New Evidence on the Crosswise Model and the Item Count Technique. Public Opinion Quarterly 85(3): 836–863.

doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfab 043


Several special questioning techniques have been developed in order to counteract misreporting to sensitive survey questions, for example, on criminal behavior. However, doubts have been raised concerning their validity and practical value as well as the strategy of testing their validity using the “more-is-better” assumption in comparative survey experiments. This is because such techniques can be prone to generating false positive estimates, that is, counting “innocent” respondents as “guilty” ones. This article investigates the occurrence of false positive estimates by comparing direct questioning, the crosswise model (CM), and the item count technique (ICT). We analyze data from two online surveys (N = 2,607 and 3,203) carried out in Germany and Switzerland. Respondents answered three questions regarding traits for which it is known that their prevalence in reality is zero. The results show that CM suffers more from false positive estimates than ICT. CM estimates amount to up to 15 percent for a given true value of zero. The mean of the ICT estimates is not significantly different from zero. We further examine factors causing the biased estimates of CM and show that speeding through the questionnaire (random answering) and problems with the measurement procedure—namely regarding the unrelated questions—are responsible. Our findings suggest that CM is problematic and should not be used or evaluated without the possibility of accounting for false positives. For ICT, the issue is less severe.

Tarik Abou-Chadi & Thomas Kurer (2021): Economic Risk within the Household and Voting for the Radical Right. World Politics 73(3), 482-511.



This article investigates how unemployment risk within households affects voting for the radical right. The authors contribute to recent advances in the literature that have highlighted the role of economic threat for understanding the support of radical-right parties. In contrast to existing work, the authors do not treat voters as atomistic individuals; they instead investigate households as a crucial site of preference formation. Combining largescale labor market data with comparative survey data, they confirm the expectations of their theoretical framework by demonstrating that the effect of occupational unemployment risk on radical-right support is strongly conditioned by household-risk constellations. Voting for the radical right is a function not only of a voter’s own risk, but also of his or her partner’s risk. The article provides additional evidence on the extent to which these effects are gendered and on the mechanisms that link household risk and party choice. The results imply that much of the existing literature on individual risk exposure potentially underestimates its effect on political behavior due to the neglect of multiplier effects within households.

Marius R. Busemeyer & Alexander H. J. Sahm (2021): Social Investment, Redistribution or Basic Income? Exploring the Association Between Automation Risk and Welfare State Attitudes in Europe. Journal of Social Policy.



Rapid technological change – the digitalization and automation of work – is challenging contemporary welfare states. Most of the existing research, however, focuses on its effect on labor market outcomes, such as employment or wage levels. In contrast, this paper studies the implications of technological change for welfare state attitudes and preferences. Compared to previous work on this topic, this paper adopts a much broader perspective regarding different kinds of social policy. Using data from the European Social Survey, we find that individual automation risk is positively associated with support for redistribution, but negatively with support for social investment policies (partly depending on the specific measure of automation risk that is used), while there is no statistically significant association with support for basic income. We also find a moderating effect of the overall size of the welfare state on the micro-level association between risk and preferences.

Mark Colas, Sebastian Findeisen & Dominik Sachs (2021): Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid. Journal of Political Economy 129(2), 492-533.



We study the optimal design of student financial aid as a function of parental income. We derive optimal financial aid formulas in a general model. We estimate a model of selection into college for the United States that comprises multidimensional heterogeneity, endogenous parental transfers, dropout, labor supply in college, and uncertain returns. We quantify optimal financial aid in the estimated model and find it is strongly declining in parental income even without distributional concerns. Equity and efficiency go hand in hand.

Claudia Diehl & Felix Wolter (2021): Attitudes about containment measures during the 2020/2021 coronavirus pandemic: self-interest, or broader political orientations? Research and Politics.



We analyze opposition towards Covid-19 containment measures by assessing the role of self-interest, sociotropic threat, political predispositions, and infection rates. We base our analyses on two waves of survey data from Germany (N = 3258/3201). Our measure of self-interest includes objective indicators for and subjective perceptions of individual threat from containment measures in the economic sphere and in the family and health domains. We also analyze whether the role of self-interest changes as the pandemic proceeds in its course. Our results show that self-interest plays a limited role in explaining attitudes about containment measures. More important are broader political predispositions such as trust in institutions, including the government. Attitudes are unrelated to local rates of infection or death. This pattern has remained stable over the course of the pandemic. We discuss the relevance of these findings with respect to the general enforceability of public policies that serve collective goals, such as efforts to limit climate change. Parts of the population may be reluctant to comply with these public policies even if the associated costs to the individual are small. This is less because of people’s personal circumstances, and more because of their opposition to government interventions as such.

Steffen Eckhard (2021): Bridging the citizen gap: Bureaucratic representation and knowledge linkage in (international) public administration. Governance 34(2), 295-314.



Bureaucratic representation theory holds that civil servants are not “neutral” in a Weberian sense. Bureaucrats are thought to “actively” represent their communities by trying to make them better off. This article proposes an alternative understanding of individual behavior in representation that emphasizes knowledge sharing instead of patronage, but leads to similar outcomes: Their societal background provides officials with advanced social knowledge about the group(s) they represent, including both informational knowledge (facts about culture, history, politics) and relational knowledge (how people interact). Bureaucratic knowledge linkage is the process of sharing information and managing relations internally and with citizens. An extreme case serves to illustrate knowledge linkage empirically: Survey data from an international organization yield high levels of knowledge asymmetries within staff bodies and subsequent observation of knowledge linkage mechanisms. In generalizing findings, the risks (knowledge distortions) and benefits (attaining public value) of knowledge linkage are discussed for both international and domestic administrations.

Eda Keremoğlu, Sebastian Hellmeier & Nils B. Weidmann (2021): Thin-skinned leaders: regime legitimation, protest issues, and repression in autocracies. Political Science Research and Methods.



The literature on autocracies has argued that repression of protest is either a result of the political environment in which protest occurs, or depends on particular characteristics of the protest events themselves. We argue that the interaction of both matters. Authoritarian regimes vary in how they legitimize their rule, and they should be particularly thin-skinned if protesters challenge the basis of their legitimacy. Using event-level data on mass mobilization in autocracies between 2003 and 2015, we use text classification methods to extract protest issues from newspaper reports. Our analysis shows that dictators are more likely to repress protest against incumbents when they claim legitimacy based on the person of the leader. Overall, our study shows that protest issues are not universal in triggering repression; rather, they need to be considered together with the political context in which they are raised.

Sebastian Koos (2021): Moralising Markets, Marketizing Morality. The Fair Trade Movement, Product Labeling and the Emergence of Ethical Consumerism in Europe. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing.



In this paper, I argue that the historical change in the organizational logic of the Fair Trade movement, embodied by Fair Trade labeling, has had an important effect on the emergence of ethical consumption in Europe. By establishing Fair Trade labels, the initial movement logic of political influence through education was supplemented and partly abandoned in favor of a market logic. Fair Trade movements in Western Europe differ in the way they organize and market fair traded goods. Drawing on organizational institutionalism and social movement theories of economic opportunity structures, it is elaborated how the emergence of a new organizational form and its underlying logic shape consumption patterns. Hypotheses are empirically tested using a quantitative multilevel design. Organizational data on national Fair Trade movements compiled from an organizational survey of the European Fair Trade Association are combined with individual-level survey data of the 1997 Eurobarometer for 12 European countries. Logistic hierarchical regression models reveal the crucial importance of the Fair Trade labels once diffused into consumer markets, controlling for organizational communication efforts as well as the number of distribution channels for individual Fair Trade consumption. Thus, adopting a market logic has been a powerful force in rendering Fair Trade successful.

Simon Munzert, Peter Selb, Anita Gohdes, Lukas F. Stoetzer & Will Lowe (2021): Tracking and promoting the usage of a COVID-19 contact tracing app. Nature Human Behaviour 5(2).



Digital contact tracing apps have been introduced globally as an instrument to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, privacy by design impedes both the evaluation of these tools and the deployment of evidence-based interventions to stimulate uptake. We combine an online panel survey with mobile tracking data to measure the actual usage of Germany’s official contact tracing app and reveal higher uptake rates among respondents with an increased risk of severe illness, but lower rates among those with a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. Using a randomized intervention, we show that informative and motivational video messages have very limited effect on uptake. However, findings from a second intervention suggest that even small monetary incentives can strongly increase uptake and help make digital contact tracing a more effective tool.

Timm M. Prein & Almuth Scholl (2021): The impact of bailouts on political turnover and sovereign default risk. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 124.



This paper develops a stochastic dynamic politico-economic model of sovereign debt to analyze the impact of bailouts on political turnover and sovereign default risk. We consider a small open economy in which the government has access to official loans conditional on the implementation of austerity policies. There is a two-party system in which both parties care about the population’s welfare but differ in an exogenous utility cost of default. Political turnover is the endogenous outcome of the individual voting behavior. In a quantitative application to the Greek economy, we find that bailouts amplify political turnover risk, which, in turn, elevates sovereign interest spreads. While stricter conditionality fosters the probability of political turnover and sovereign default in the short run, it may mitigate political turnover and default risk in the long run. The frequency of political turnover is U-shaped in the strength of conditionality.

Lea Rittsteiger, Thomas Hinz, Doris Oriwol, Hagen Wäsche, Claudia Santos-Hövener & Alexander Woll (2021): Sports participation of children and adolescents in Germany: disentangling the influence of parental socioeconomic status. BMC Public Health, 21.



Participation in sports and physical activity (PA) is a critical resource for children’s health and social development. This study analyzes how the parental socioeconomic status (SES) of children and adolescents affects their PA in sports clubs (organized sports) and outside of sports clubs (unorganized sports) and tests whether the potential impact of parental SES is mediated by the opportunity structure of their residential area (walkability, infrastructure, etc.) and by family and peer support for PA. Furthermore, PA is analyzed respecting differences by gender and migration background. Using representative data from the MoMo/KiGGS study (2009–2012 and 2014–2017), we take into account about 8000 measurements from about 7000 subjects. We estimate hurdle regression models to analyze the minutes per week spent on sports activities. Results show that children with a higher parental SES, children living in areas with many opportunities for PA, and children receiving family and peer support are more physically active than children without these features. Controlled for opportunities and support, status effects are small but visible. The differences regarding parental SES are much more apparent for organized sports than for unorganized sports, indicating the relevance of economic resources. Boys are more active than girls, whereas there is no clear effect of migration background. The coefficient of parental SES on organized sports most probably relates to the resources needed to participate in sports clubs, including fees and equipment. Lower membership fees might potentially help to integrate children with low parental SES into sports clubs and thereby make organized sports more accessible to all social classes.

Katrin Schmelz & Samuel Bowles (2021): Overcoming COVID-19 vaccination resistance when alternative policies affect the dynamics of conformism, social norms, and crowding out. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 118(25).



What is an effective vaccination policy to end the COVID-19 pandemic? We address this question in a model of the dynamics of policy effectiveness drawing upon the results of a large panel survey implemented in Germany during the first and second waves of the pandemic. We observe increased opposition to vaccinations were they to be legally required. In contrast, for voluntary vaccinations, there was higher and undiminished support. We find that public distrust undermines vaccine acceptance, and is associated with a belief that the vaccine is ineffective and, if enforced, compromises individual freedom. We model how the willingness to be vaccinated may vary over time in response to the fraction of the population already vaccinated and whether vaccination has occurred voluntarily or not. A negative effect of enforcement on vaccine acceptance (of the magnitude observed in our panel or even considerably smaller) could result in a large increase in the numbers that would have to be vaccinated unwillingly in order to reach a herd-immunity target. Costly errors may be avoided if policy makers understand that citizens’ preferences are not fixed but will be affected both by the crowding-out effect of enforcement and by conformism. Our findings have broad policy applicability beyond COVID-19 to cases in which voluntary citizen compliance is essential because state capacities are limited and because effectiveness may depend on the ways that the policies themselves alter citizens’ beliefs and preferences.

Denise Traber, Miriam Hänni, Nathalie Giger & Christian Breunig (2021): Social status, political priorities and unequal representation. European Journal of Political Research.



Researchers on inequalities in representation debate about whether governments represent the preferences of the rich better than those of less affluent citizens. We argue that problems of high- and low-status citizens are treated differently already at the agenda-setting stage. If affluent and less affluent citizens have different priorities about which issues should be tackled by government, then these divergent group priorities explain why government favours high- over low-status citizens. Due to different levels of visibility, resources and social ties, governments pay more attention to what high-status citizens consider important in their legislative agenda and pay less attention to the issues of low-status citizens. We combined three types of data for our research design. First, we extracted the policy priorities (most important issues) for all status groups from Eurobarometer data between 2002 and 2016 for 10 European countries and matched this information with data on policy outcomes from the Comparative Agendas Project. We then strengthen our results using a focused comparison of three single country studies over longer time series. We show that a priority gap exists and has representational consequences. Our analysis has important implications for the understanding of the unequal representation of status groups as it sheds light on an important, yet so far unexplored, aspect of the political process. Since the misrepresentation of political agendas occurs at the very beginning of the policy-making process, the consequences are potentially even more severe than for the unequal treatment of preferences.

Stefanie Bailer, Christian Breunig, Nathalie Giger, Andreas M. Wüst (2021): The Diminishing Value of Representing the Disadvantaged: Between Group Representation and Individual Career Paths. British Journal of Political Science.



Does enhanced descriptive representation lead to substantive representation? Legislators who share descriptive features with disadvantaged groups do not necessarily represent their group interests. Instead, Members of Parliament (MPs) strategically choose when to engage with the policy topic of their corresponding groups. MPs represent their respective group at the beginning of their career because it confers credibility when they have no legislative track record and few opportunities to demonstrate expertise. These group-specific efforts are replaced by other legislative activities at later stages of their careers. The authors apply this theoretical expectation across four disadvantaged groups – women, migrants, low social class and the young – and thereby offer a broad perspective on descriptive representation. Their sample consists of a unique data base that combines biographical information on German MPs with topic-coded parliamentary questions for the period 1998 to 2013. The study demonstrates the diminishing value of representing the disadvantaged across different types of MPs.

Ariane Bertogg, Susanne Strauß, Leen Vandecasteele (2021): Linked Lives, Linked Retirement? Relative Income Differences within Couples and Gendered Retirement Decisions in Europe.
Advances in Life Course Research 47.



Our article investigates the role of relative income distributions within couples for individuals’ retirement risks. It addresses the following questions: How does the share someone provides to the couple income affect that person’s retirement decision? What gender differences do we observe and what contextual factors can explain country differences? Our multilevel analyses draw on data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) study (2010–2016), comparing 26 countries. The results show that female main earners transition to retirement earlier than female secondary earners as they approach the official retirement age. This effect is even stronger in countries with more traditional gender norms. The opposite pattern is found for men, whereby male secondary earners retire earlier than male main earners in more gender traditional societies. We explain this finding on the basis of doing gender theories, which predict that gender-atypical behaviour in one area of life is compensated by traditional gender behaviour in other areas, especially in contexts with traditional gender norms. A further finding relates to the generosity of the country’s pension replacement rate, which shows to be a factor facilitating retirement especially for those with an equal earning partner.

Nils-Christian Bormann, Yannick I. Pengl, Lars-Erik Cederman, Nils B. Weidmann (2021):
Globalization, Institutions and Ethnic Inequality. International Organization.



Recent research has shown that inequality between ethnic groups is strongly driven by politics, where powerful groups and elites channel the state's resources toward their constituencies. Most of the existing literature assumes that these politically induced inequalities are static and rarely change over time. We challenge this claim and argue that economic globalization and domestic institutions interact in shaping inequality between groups. In weakly institutionalized states, gains from trade primarily accrue to political insiders and their co-ethnics. By contrast, politically excluded groups gain ground where a capable and meritocratic state apparatus governs trade liberalization. Using nighttime luminosity data from 1992 to 2012 and a global sample of ethnic groups, we show that the gap between politically marginalized groups and their included counterparts has narrowed over time while economic globalization progressed at a steady pace. Our quantitative analysis and four qualitative case narratives show, however, that increasing trade openness is associated with economic gains accruing to excluded groups in only institutionally strong states, as predicted by our theoretical argument. In contrast, the economic gap between ethnopolitical insiders and outsiders remains constant or even widens in weakly institutionalized countries.

Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, Jens Suedekum, Nicole Woessner (2021): The Adjustment of Labor Markets to Robots. Journal of the European Economic Association.



We use detailed administrative data to study the adjustment of local labor markets to industrial robots in Germany. Robot exposure, as predicted by a shift-share variable, is associated with displacement effects in manufacturing, but those are fully offset by new jobs in services. The incidence mostly falls on young workers just entering the labor force. Automation is related to more stable employment within firms for incumbents, and this is driven by workers taking over new tasks in their original plants. Several measures indicate that those new jobs are of higher quality than the previous ones. Young workers also adapt their educational choices, and substitute away from vocational training towards colleges and universities. Finally, industrial robots have benefited workers in occupations with complementary tasks, such as managers or technical scientists.

Claudia Diehl, Elisabeth Liebau, Peter Muehlau (2021):  “How Often Have You Felt Disadvantaged?” Explaining Perceived Discrimination. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie.



Based on longitudinal data from Germany, we analyze how perceptions of discrimination change once migrants’ integration evolves. Individuals who identify more strongly with the host country, speak the language, have native friends, and are adequately employed report less discrimination overall. However, group-specific analyses reveal that German-born Turks feel more rather than less discriminated against after their language skills and their identification increase. For this group, we find evidence for the “integration paradox”, i.e., the finding that better educated migrants have more rather than less negative attitudes about the host society. Results suggest that attributional processes rather than rising exposure to discrimination might be the main mechanism linking integration to higher levels of perceived discrimination. Obviously, discrimination does not disappear for groups facing salient ethnic boundaries and is met with growing awareness and sensitivity among individuals that have become more similar to the majority of members. This, in turn, by no means implies that perceived discrimination is detached from reality.

Katharina Hecht, Kate Summers (2020): The Long and Short of It: The Temporal Significance of Wealth and Income. Social Policy & Administration.



In the literatures on the lived experience of poverty and richness temporal dimensions are underappreciated. Comparing qualitative interviews with those at opposite ends of the income and wealth distributions in the UK, we examine a temporal contrast: while “poor” participants experience money as flows of income which focus orientation to the present and constrain orientation to the future, “rich” participants experience money not only as flows of income, but also in the form of a stock of wealth which facilitates long-term orientations. Highlighting the enduring nature of wealth and the comparative short-termism of income, we argue that the way in which capital and income relates to individuals' orientations to the future is important for understanding how economic inequality is experienced. Put differently, the form which economic resources take matters for one's ability to plan and control the future. This insight contributes to our understanding of the experience of being economically advantaged or disadvantaged, with implications for (social) policy.

Nevena Kulic, Giulia Dotti Sani, Susanne Strauß, Luna Bellani (2020): Economic Disturbances in the COVID-19 Crisis and their Gendered Impact on Unpaid Activities in Germany and Italy. European Societies 23:1, 400-416.



This article investigates whether changes in women’s and men’s contributions to household income in Germany and Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are associated with changes in unpaid work. The current health crisis represents a unique opportunity to explore these topics, because the restrictive measures imposed during the lockdown are likely to have generated an unexpected shock to both domestic work and individual ability to contribute to household income. Using data from two novel datasets collected in Germany and Italy during the pandemic, this article shows that changes to both contribution to household income and unpaid activities during the crisis have been gendered, affecting women more negatively than men. In addition, we suggest that economic disturbances during the pandemic are associated with gendered changes in unpaid work that seem to be driven by changes in bargaining power in both countries. Our results also show some support for enhanced traditionalization of domestic life among German couples during the crisis, as predicted by gender display theories, albeit only regarding childcare.

Dirk Leuffen, Julian Schuessler, Jana Gómez Díaz (2020): Public Support for Differentiated Integration: Individual Liberal Values and Concerns about Member State Discrimination. Journal of European Public Policy.



Research on differentiated integration (DI) in the European Union has burgeoned in recent years. However, we still know little about citizens’ attitudes towards the phenomenon. In this article, we argue that at the level of individual citizens, liberal economic values increase support for DI. Stronger preferences for equality, in contrast, make opposition to the concept more likely. Similarly, concerns about discriminatory differentiation at the member state level lead citizens to oppose DI. We test the theoretical claims by analysing survey data on citizens’ attitudes towards a ‘multi-speed Europe’. Supporters of DI, indeed, are marked by liberal economic attitudes. In contrast to general EU support, we do not find robust correlations with socio-demographic variables. Moreover, the data reveal striking differences amongst macro-regions: support for DI has become much lower in Southern European states. We attribute this opposition to negative repercussions of the Eurozone crisis.

Stephan E. Maurer, Andrei V. Potlogea (2021): Male-Biased Demand Shocks and Women’s Labour Force Participation: Evidence from Large Oil Field Discoveries. Economica 88, 167-188.



Do male-biased labour demand shocks affect women's labour market outcomes? To study this question, we examine large oil field discoveries in the southern USA from 1900 to 1940. We find that oil wealth has an overall positive effect on female labour force participation that is driven by single women. While oil discoveries increase demand for male labour and raise male wages, they do not drive women out of the tradable goods sector or the labour force. Our findings suggest that the absence of any crowding out effects of oil wealth can be explained by compensating forces such as demand effects within the tradable sector, or by income effects that lead to growth in the non-tradable sector.

Nils Röper (2020): Between Substantive and Symbolic Influence: Diffusion, Translation and Bricolage in German Pension Politics. Review of International Political Economy.



Diffusion, transfer and translation literatures assume that policy ideas are conceived exogenously, while domestic perspectives such as bricolage consider policy innovations as reactivated local ideas. Cases where foreign ideas do not shape local actors’ preferences, but still feature saliently in public discourse therefore appear in a conceptual blind spot. The paper develops a distinction between the symbolic and substantive functions of foreign ideas. For the case of German pension politics it argues that foreign ideas can be causally consequential as (symbolic) framing devices, even if their underlying ideas had (substantively) long been conceived and advocated in the domestic context. The analysis finds that the foreign-frame ‘Anglo-American pension funds’—a most likely case for translation and diffusion—was initially employed by change agents to advance their longstanding preference for more financialized pension policies. During the ensuing political struggles, continuity agents successfully reinterpreted and utilized the same frame to prevent pension financialization and veneer continuity as the transfer of a foreign policy innovation in what is best described as label localization. Thinking of foreign ideas in substantive and symbolic terms specifies how ideas emerge and how they are used in political conflict, which bridges global and domestic perspectives on policy change.

Katrin Schmelz (2021): Enforcement May Crowd out Voluntary Support for COVID-19 Policies, Especially Where Trust in Government Is Weak and in a Liberal Society. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 118:1.



Effective states govern by some combination of enforcement and voluntary compliance. To contain the COVID-19 pandemic, a critical decision is the extent to which policy makers rely on voluntary as opposed to enforced compliance, and nations vary along this dimension. While enforcement may secure higher compliance, there is experimental and other evidence that it may also crowd out voluntary motivation. How does enforcement affect citizens’ support for anti–COVID-19 policies? A survey conducted with 4,799 respondents toward the end of the first lockdown in Germany suggests that a substantial share of the population will support measures more under voluntary than under enforced implementation. Negative responses to enforcement—termed control aversion—vary across the nature of the policy intervention (e.g., they are rare for masks and frequent for vaccination and a cell-phone tracing app). Control aversion is less common among those with greater trust in the government and the information it provides, and among those who were brought up under the coercive regime of East Germany. Taking account of the likely effectiveness of enforcement and the extent to which near-universal compliance is crucial, the differing degrees of opposition to enforcement across policies suggest that for some anti–COVID-19 policies an enforced mandate would be unwise, while for others it would be essential. Similar reasoning may also be relevant for policies to address future pandemics and other societal challenges like climate change.

Tobias Tober, Marius R. Busemeyer (2020): Breaking the Link? How European Integration Shapes Social Policy Demand and Supply. Journal of European Public Policy.



How does European integration affect the welfare state? This paper argues that European integration has non-complementary consequences for the political economy of welfare spending: European economic integration increases popular demand for social spending, whereas European political integration decreases the supply of social spending. Thus, the conflicting implications of European integration essentially break the link between social policy preferences and social policy. Using statistical models that deal with the multilevel structure of the theoretical argument, we find a positive relationship between economic integration and support for social policy. In the second part of the empirical analysis, dynamic model specifications at the country level show that higher levels of political integration are associated with lower levels of social spending. Furthermore, we provide evidence that social policy responsiveness declines as political integration increases.