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Department of Political Science

Professorship for Swiss Politics and Comparative political Economy

Welcome to the Chair of Prof. Dr. Silja Häusermann (Personal website)

The Chair focuses in research and teaching on two subfields of comparative politics: Swiss politics and comparative political economy.

Switzerland is an exciting case in comparative terms. It is a highly developed consensual democracy, which is similar to continental and northern European consensual democracies in terms of institutions and decision-making processes, but also has very untypical liberal characteristics in terms of economic policy and social policy. Moreover, with its pronounced direct democracy, it has very specific forms of political participation, which reinforce the hybrid character of the system. Our goal is to contribute to the understanding of Swiss politics with well-founded empirical analyses. To this end, we apply a wide range of questions from comparative politics, policy analysis and comparative political economy to Switzerland. We address a wide range of aspects of the Swiss political system, in particular the institutional structure (decision-making structures, welfare state, production regime), elections and voting, changes in party and association systems, and the formulation of specific policies (especially social and economic policies). In doing so, we do not see the study of Swiss politics as a purely case-by-case study, but as a rule adopt a comparative perspective.

Comparative political economy is a sub-discipline of comparative political science that uses political science methods and theories to examine the reciprocal relationship between the state and the economy. On the one hand, the aim is to explain why and in what way the state intervenes in the economy in a regulatory or redistributive way. On the other hand, there is also the question of the extent to which economic interests and institutions shape politics. Typical research areas include the analysis of economic and social inequality and its effects on democracy, labour market research, the analysis of social, fiscal and education policy, the study of employers' and trade union organisations and their balance of power, or the question of what room for manoeuvre national political actors (governments, parties, etc.) still have at all in times of globalisation and post-industrialisation, or how they interact with the supra- and international level. In this research area we have a particularly pronounced focus on social and labour market policy, and geographically on Western Europe. Methodologically, the emphasis is on quantitative comparative research at the micro and macro levels, although we also use qualitative and mixed methods depending on the research question.


Director of the area


Post Docs:
Dr. Tabea Palmtag
Dr. Delia Zollinger
Dr. Reto Bürgisser

Doctoral students/assistants:
Fabienne Eisenring
Reto Mitteregger

Auxiliary assistants:
Larissa Solari


Main research areas

Comparative welfare state research, comparative political economy, pension and family policy, party and association systems, policy analysis, Europeanisation / internationalisation.


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. Silja Häusermann
Office AFL-H-314
Appointments via E-Mail