I am a comparative political scientists. My research areas are comparative political economy, political sociology, and comparative political institutions. I have specialized in welfare state research, education and social investment policy, global social policy, party politics, public opinion, and legislative studies.

The World Politics of Social Investment (with Silja Häusermann and Bruno Palier)

Around the globe, welfare states are changing. This is happening against the background of changing capitalism, a shift towards skill-focused knowledge economies, changing labor markets, intensifying globalization, deindustrialization, and technological change, as well as new public demands related to “new social risks" such as single parenthood, youth unemployment, or working poverty.

In many countries, policy-makers' main response to these challenges has been to modernize welfare states by focusing on future-oriented “social investment" policies that center around creating, mobilize, and preserving human skills. These policies, such as education, early childhood education and care, employment-oriented family policies, and active labor market policies, aim at simultaneously fulfilling both economic and social goals.

Yet, the turn towards the social investment state has taken very different forms and has happened to different degrees and at different points in time in democratic countries around the globe. The existing literature focuses almost entirely on Western Europe, neglecting the fact that many democracies in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and East Asia face similar struggles and have adopted social investment policies, too. Moreover, most research focuses on single social investment policies and has not analyzed social investments more holistically. Accordingly, we lack both a descriptive overview on the types of social investment policies adopted in these countries as well as explanations of their (non-)emergence. This is the goal of our project, entitled “The World Politics of Social Investment".

The aim of the project is to descriptively map and theoretically, as well as empirically, explain the political and socio-economic conditions for the development of social investment policies in democracies around the globe, looking at a range of common global, as well as country-, and region-specific political factors that drive or impede social investment reforms. We particularly aim at understanding the content of the social investment political agenda in current democracies around the world, map the political conflicts over social investment, and figure out the types of political coalitions that support or prevent a specific social investment strategy. We thus offer the first worldwide analysis of the politics of social investment reforms around the globe.

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The Political Economy of Higher Education

Based on my dissertational research, my book The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance, published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2016, analyzes the political economy of higher education finance across all OECD countries, exploring why some students pay extortionate tuition fees whilst for others their education is free.

What are the redistributional consequences of these different tuition-subsidy systems? Analyzing the variety of existing systems, the book shows that across the advanced democracies “Four Worlds of Student Finance" exist. Historically, however, all countries' higher education systems looked very much alike in the 1940s.

The book develops a theoretical model, the Time-Sensitive Partisan Theory, to explain why countries have evolved from a similar historical starting point to today's very distinct Four Worlds. The empirical analyses combine a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative evidence, studying higher education policies in all advanced democracies from 1945-2015.

In related, ongoing work I study effects of higher education systems on important socio-economic outcomes such as education-related wage premiums and socio-economic inequality.
Party Politics and Welfare States (in Multilevel Systems)

My broad research agenda in this project is to better connect literature on party politics, on the one hand, with welfare state research, on the other, and to come up with innovative approaches to bring both well established fields forward. After having worked as a research assistant in a project on party politics and intra-party dynamics at the University of Cologne studying parties' strategic behavior (with André Kaiser, Ingo Rohlfing, and Simon Franzmann), it struck me how different the understandings and conceptualizations of parties are in these different literatures, when for my dissertational research I turned more towards welfare state research, comparative political economy, and public policy.

Too often these two huge literatures talk past each other, ignoring key insights from the respective fields. In my research, I thus aim at transferring insights from one field to the other, seeking for synergies and for coming up with innovative ideas of perspectives to bring this field forward.

Several publications have come out of this project. Together with Kilian Seng I have challenged the existing literature on partisan effects on public (education and welfare) spending. We argue that for theoretical, methodological, and empirical reasons most existing studies are misleading and proposed new methodological and theoretical approaches to analyze partisan effects on public spending (or other policy outputs).

In other work, together with Leonce Röth and Hanna Kleider, I argue that the existing literature's focus on policy-making on the national level is often misleading (for example in the case of education policy), as in many countries authority over these policies is decentralized, taking place at subnational levels. We thus collected a huge novel dataset on (1) public spending and (2) parties' multidimensional policy positions on the regional level in 355 regions in 15 OECD countries over 20 years. In forthcoming work (Kleider et al. 2017) as well as in ongoing research we study the interaction of regional and national governments in shaping public policy in these multilevel systems.

Moreover, I try to understand under what conditions parties matter (vis-à-vis other factors such as organized interests, public opinion, etc.) and how and why they matter (i.e. trying to understand their goals, strategies, detailed policy-making processes, etc.).

(The Power of) Political Oppositions

We cannot imagine a political system without opposition. Yet, political science still tends to ignore oppositions and remains highly government centered (take as an indicator that in the U.S. many political science departments and study programs are even called "government"). This project studies political oppositions. It asks, for example: How much power do oppositions have? How does their influence vary across political systems and over time? How do oppositional parties behave (strategically)?

In already published work (Garritzmann 2017a, 2017b), I have studied the power of oppositions in 22 advanced democracies. In ongoing work I look at effects of these different power constellations for important political phenomena like welfare delivery, economic voting, party competition, and coalition formation dynamics.

Public Opinion and Education & Social Investment Policy (with Marius Busemeyer and Erik Neimanns)

ERC-funded project: INVEDUC (Investing in Education in Europe); Senior Researcher

In today's human-capital-centered knowledge economies education is increasingly important. Accordingly, everyone has an opinion about education policy and about what is going right and wrong in their country's kindergartens, schools, and post-secondary education institutions - and about what politicians should do about it. Thus, when designing education policies policy-makers increasingly (have to) pay attention to public opinion. Yet, the role of public opinion for education policy-making has not been studied. In fact, citizens' education policy preferences remain largely understudied.

In this project we analyze the role of public opinion for education policy-making. Drawing empirically on an original, large, representative public opinion survey in eight West European countries (INVEDUC data) as well as on case studies tracing all relevant education reforms (and non-reforms) in the last years in the same eight countries, we offer insights into the role of public opinion for education policies.

We argue and show that education is often highly salient - "loud politics" in Culpepper's (2011) terms -, rendering public opinion an important force. Yet, going further, we argue that salience alone cannot explain the impact public opinion has, as it remains blind regarding the direction the reforms should take. Adding the degree of political conflict as a second dimension, we argue and show that public opinion often sends a "loud, but noisy" signal and study the implications this has for education policies. Many of the book's core arguments and findings are not specific to the area of education policy but travel equally to many other policy areas.


Prof. Dr. Julian Garritzmann

Goethe University Frankfurt
Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute for Political Science

Westend Campus - PEG-Building
Internal Mailbox PEG 54
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Office: PEG 3.G 047
Tel.: +49 (0)69-798-36639


Andrea Stork
Office: PEG 3.G 103
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798-36658