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Department of Political Science

Research area Comparative Politics and Empirical Democracy Research

The Chair of Comparative Politics and Empirical Democracy Research of Prof. Dr. Lucas Leemann investigates the function of democratic political systems from a comparative perspective and also develops computer-aided methods and statistical software for the precise measurement of public opinion.

The research group's substantive focus is on democratic practices and how democratic representation unfolds. We seek to understand how political systems differ in their ability to aggregate individual preferences and transfer them to politics. We analyse how political identities, e.g. party affiliation or broader political identification, and institutions, e.g. electoral rules or direct democratic institutions, influence the quality of representation and outcomes such as policy congruence or satisfaction with democracy. We investigate how the presence or absence of certain political institutions affects the behaviour of governments, parliamentarians, political parties, social groups and voters, and how this ultimately influences politics and leads to different political outcomes.

Another focus of the research group is the application of new statistical methods for measuring public opinion and voter preferences using survey data and other data sources. We use machine learning and data science tools to develop new methods, refine existing methods and make them available as open source statistical software. Our recently developed methods include a strategic selection estimator (StratSel), multilevel regression with synthetic poststratification (MrsP) and improved multilevel regression with machine learning poststratification (autoMrP).

Director of the area


Post Docs:
Florian Schaffner

Doctoral students/assistants:
Iva Srbinovska

Auxiliary assistants:
Fabian Aiolfi
Jonas Ineichen
Olivia Schmied
Yara Schmidt

Main research areas

Comparative politics, comparative political economy, historical political economy, representation, direct democracy, data analysis and survey research

Teaching and supervision

You can find detailed information about the courses of the staff members on the personal pages.


Department of Political Science
Affolternstrasse 56
8050 Zurich
Tel: 044 634 58 35 / 044 634 38 41
Office opening hours: Monday to Friday: 09:00 - 12:00 / 13:30 - 16:30


Support information

Consultation hours:

Prof. Dr. Lucas Leemann
Office AFL-H-302
Appointments via E-Mail