Political Institutions, Conflict, and Redistribution

In this project, I investigate how political instutions, coalition formation, and redistributive institutions interact. More precisely, I do research on the causes and consequences of taxation and social policies.

I examine (with Patrick Emmenegger and Lucas Leemann) how the composition of public revenue evolved during the 19th and 20th century and how political institutions shape taxation with focus on direct taxation in the Swiss cantons 1830-1980. In addition, we examine how tax competition emerged in the context of the increasing economic and political integration within states. To address these issues, we have compiled a new data set including budget data, political institutions, and the ideological composition of cantonal governments. In the next steps, we will focus on early democratization in Europe, electoral/parliamentary institutions, and public spending patterns.

In addition, I have been investigating how sub-national jurisdictions manage to prevent a race to bottom with regard to social security provision via interstate cooperation. In addition, I have focused how direct democratic instruments, namely initiatives and referendums, influence the provision of social expenditure in the presence of small and large government coalitions. Moreover, I have also addressed the question of how the Swiss cantons achieved full health insurance coverage during the 20th century in the absence of a mandatory insurance law on the national level. The research was accompained by an extensive data collection, covering new data on the party composition of cantonal parliaments and governments, social policies, and insurance coverage in the Swiss cantons in the 19th and 20th century. The results have been published in the Journal of Politics and the Journal of European Social Policy.


A Race to the Middle. The Politics of Interstate Cost Distribution and Welfare State Expansion, The Journal of Politics, 2019

The Partisan Composition of Cantonal Governments in Switzerland, 1848-2017. A new Dataset [with Patrick Emmenegger], Swiss Political Science Review, 2018

Taking the Initiative! Direct Democracy, Coalition Governments, and Welfare State Expansion, Journal of European Social Policy, 2018