Research projects

Individualized Representation and its Sources

Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) with 280.000 Euro

Researcher: Dr. Dominic Nyhuis and Matthias Henneke

Duration: 2014 – 2017

Research question / goal: This project gauges the behaviors of legislators in campaign and legislative contexts. It asks about their foci and styles of representation. Predominantely, the project is interested in whether legislators cultivate individualized styles of representation compared to collectivist/partisan styles, and to what extend electoral factors might explain variance in this regard.

Data: Candidate surveys, statistical information on legislative behavior, content analysis on legislative behavior, qualitative case studies on individual legislators

Geographic space: Germany

Further information on this project can be found here.

 

Constituency candidates in German state elections: Socio-demographic beackgrounds, recruitment, attitudes, and campaign behavior

own funding

Researcher: Sara Ceyhan

Duration: 2014 - 2017

Research question / goal:  Elections are important instruments of democracy. Voters are given opportunities to take choices on political personnell and policies. However, these choices are structured and constrained by those candidates running. This project aims to understand the constaints voters face at the German state level and to explore their sources and consequences. To answer these questions, we will conduct a series of candidate surveys enclosing Bavaria (15. September 2013), Hessia (22. September 2013) and Saxony (31. August 2014).

Data: Candidate survey

Geographic space: German states (Hessia, Bavaria, Saxony)

 

Candidates in Constituency Campaigns from a Comparative Perspective: How Personalized are Constituency Campaigns, Why, and does it Matter?

Funded by Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst (DAAD), Flämische Forschungsgemeinschaft (FWO), and the Institute for European Studies at Cornell University with 13.000 Euro

Duration: 2009-2013

Research question / goal: Most of the comparative literature on constituency campaigning so far focused on campaign efforts and their electoral sources and consequences. This project looks at campaign styles asking about the quantity and quality of personalized forms of campaigning at the constituency level and about its sources and effects. The project is a comparative endeavour bringing together an international group of experts on this issue that are all part of the Comparative Candidate Survey (CCS) network. In the context of the project, participants met at a kick off conference at Cornell University, Ithaca (USA) in October 2009, organized a panel at the APSA Annual Convention in Washington D.C. in 2010 and contributed to a special symposium at Electoral Studies that was published online in 2014.

Data: Surveys (Candidates und Voters)

Geographic space: Belgium, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland

 

Candidates and Voters - The Dynamics and Nature of the Electoral Connection

with Thomas Gschwend, Herrmann Schmitt, Bernhard Wessels, and Andreas Wüst

Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) as part of the German Voter Study 2009 with approx. 50.000 Euro. Primary investigators are Hans Rattinger / Mannheim, Sigrid Rossteutscher / Frankfurt, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck / Mannheim, Bernhard Wessels / WZB)

Duration: 2009 – 2011

Research question / goal: In this project we survey the constituency candidates to the 17th German Bundestag. Its main concern is to better understand how candidates were recruited, who they are with regard to their socio-demographic backgrounds, what their political beliefs look like, and how they campaign and communicate to voters. Data on these questions are most relevant for a multitude of research questions and problems that concern students of representation and electoral democracy. 

Data: Candidate Survey

Geographic space: Germany

 

Electoral Systems and Party Personnel - The Consequences of Reform and Non-Reform

with Thomas Gschwend

Funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) with 20.600 USD. Primary investigators are Matthew S. Shugart (UC San Diego), Ellis Krauss (UC San Diego) and Robert Pekkanen (University of Washington).

Duration: 2009 – 2011.

Research question / goal: This project looks at the strategies of political parties in their attempts to assign political positions/functions. Primarily, it asks about the electoral sources of this process and whether parties strategically recruit distinct types of people for distinct types of positions, dependent upon electoral contexts.

Data: Statistical data on candidates

Geographic space: Belgium, Italy, UK, Ukraine, Japan, Germany, Venezuela, New Zealand, Spain

 

Candidates in Constituency Campaigns: Individualized Political Representation?

with Thomas Gschwend, Herrmann Schmitt and Andreas Wüst

Funded by Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) with 15.000 Euro

Duration: 2005 – 2007

Research question / goal: In this project we survey the constituency candidates to the 16th German Bundestag. Its main concern is to better understand how candidates were recruited, who they are with regard to their socio-demographic backgrounds, what their political beliefs look like, and how they campaign and communicate to voters. Data on these questions are most relevant for a multitude of research questions and problems that concern students of representation and electoral democracy.

Data: Candidate survey

Geographic space: Germany

 

The Theory and historical Development of Western Democracies

with André Kaiser

Publication project funded by Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftungwith 2.000 Euro

Duration: 2002 – 2004

Research question / goal: This project focuses on the publication of an edited volume. The main theme of this volume concerns the interrelationships between prescriptive theories of democracy, historical junctures, and the actual institutional development of western democracies. It is designed to be the Festschrift for Prof. Peter Graf von Kielmansegg. It assembles a group of nationally and internationally most visible colleagues such as Fritz Scharpf, Manfred G. Schmidt, Max Kaase, Franz Urban Pappi, Beate Kohler-Koch, Wilhelm Hennis, Herfried Münkler, Paul Kirchof, and Jan van Deth.

 

Parliaments, Representation and new Digital Media

Funded by Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung with 13.000 Euros and Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) with 34.000 Euros

Duration: 2000 – 2006

Research question / goal: The Internet provides mind boggling opportunities for political communication and participation. These technolocigal opportunities result in far reaching models of democratic change, that among others concern the relationship between representatives and voters. This project emphasizes the strategic nature of constituency communication and thus looks at the choices of legislators in adopting the Internet to related to voters. It takes a comparative perspective (international and historical comparison) and aims to understand to what extent digital constituency communication might be able to change the relationship between legislators and their constituents and under what circumstances.

Data: Quantitative content analysis of Websites, interviews

Geographic space: Germany, USA, Sweden

 

Effects of new Digital Media on Democracy in the US

Funded by Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) with 10.000 Euros und the Friends of the University of Mannheim with 1.500 Euros

Duration: 1998

Research question / goal: The Internet opens up new opportunities for political communication and participation. How are these opportunities used by elites and mass publics in one of the technologically most advanced countries, namely the US? Do we see new forms of political behavior and resulting institutional change that is in line with early model of electronic democracy? Or do we rather witness the implementation of existing strategies and institutional models in cyberspace?

Data: Interviews, document research, content analysis of Websites

Geographic space: USA