I am a political scientist with affiliations in Konstanz (Zukunftskolleg) and Zurich (Eawag). My research is mainly about political networks, with applications in public policy and in European and American politics.
While writing my PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, I developed a software called Discourse Network Analyzer (DNA) in order to analyze policy debates or political discourse among relevant political actors in a dynamic way, drawing upon methods of social network analysis.
I have subsequently applied the new methodology 1) to climate politics in the U.S. Congress, 2) to the conflict over software patents in Europe, and 3) to German pension policy-making. The approach is able to explain policy change and map the (multidimensional) policy preferences of political actors as they change over time.
Beside these sectoral case studies, I have developed a computational agent-based simulation model of endogenous opinion formation among interest groups and governmental actors. The simulation model can explain the macro structures observable in the case studies. Moreover, I have employed exponential random graph models (ERGM) in order to pinpoint discursive contagion among these actors and, in a separate study, to explain information exchange between political actors (see publications).
Apart from political networks, I am interested in the logic of political parties and in other political economy topics such as collective goods, which is also reflected in my teaching profile.
In the spring semester 2013, I teach two methodological PhD seminars: "Introduction to the Statistical Computing Environment R" (Zeppelin University Graduate School, Friedrichshafen) and "Advanced Network Analysis: The Analysis of Cognitive Structures" (PhD Program Politics and Public Administration, University of Konstanz). I regularly teach in the POLNET summer school or fall academy (registration open to external participants who want to learn network analysis).
April 30, 2013
New book chapter
"Coping with Creeping Catastrophes", with V. Schneider and T. Malang (see publications page).
April 25, 2013
Südwestmetall Award 2013
I received the Südwestmetall Award for my research. It is sponsored by the German Employers Federation Südwestmetall and is endowed with 5,000 euros.
Feb. 21, 2013
New article using DNA
"Reconceptualizing Major Policy Change in the Advocacy Coalition Framework". Policy Studies Journal 41(1): 169-198.