In both research and teaching, our team focuses on two subfields of Comparative Politics: Swiss Politics and Comparative Political Economy.
In a comparative perspective, Switzerland is an intriguing case in many respects. It is a highly developed consensus democracy, which bears resemblance to the institutions and decision-making processes of the other continental and Northern European consensus democracies. On the other hand, however, Switzerland displays very distinct, rather liberal traits regarding economic and social policy institutions. In addition, Switzerland’s strongly developed elements of direct democracy introduce very specific forms of political participation into the system, which reinforce the hybrid character of this political regime. Our goal is to contribute to the understanding of Swiss politics by means of rigorous empirical research. Doing so, we investigate a variety of research questions from Comparative Politics, Policy Analysis and Comparative Political Economy with regard to the Swiss case. We are interested in a wide range of aspects of the Swiss political system, especially the institutional regime (decision-making structures, welfare state, production regime), voting and electoral behavior, changing party and interest group systems and policy-making (in particular social and economic policy). We tend to address these issues from a comparative perspective in order to contextualize the study of Swiss politics.
Comparative Political Economy is a subfield of Comparative Politics, which investigates the interrelations of the State and the Economy by means of political science theories and methods. On the one hand, its main goal is to explain why and how States intervene in the economy by regulating it or by allocating goods and rights. On the other hand, the reverse question is equally key: to what extent and with which consequences do economic interests and institutions condition politics? Typical research areas include the analysis of economic and social inequality and its impact on democracy, labor markets dynamics, social, fiscal and education policy regimes, the organization and power balance of labor and capital or the question to what extent globalization and post-industrialization have limited the decision-making autonomy of national political actors (governments, parties, etc.) and how these national actors interact with the supra- and international arena. In our research, we have a particularly strong focus on the politics of social and labor market policy regimes and geographically on Western Europe. Methodologically, our focus is on quantitative comparative research both at the micro- and macro-levels, but depending on the research question we also use qualitative and mixed methods.