My research focuses on democratic representation. I seek to understand how political systems differ in their ability to aggregate individual preferences and map these onto policies. My interest lies in how such institutions emerge and how they are being changed. This research on democratic representation contributes to two subfields of political science: (1) comparative politics and (2) data science.
- Comparative Politics: I am especially interested in the early democratization of Western Europe, i.e. ballot secrecy, suffrage, proportional representation, and taxation. Understanding how institutions are put in place is one part of my research agenda; I also strive to understand how they affect representation. Here, I focus on direct democratic institutions and how they affect partisan competition and policy congruence. Finally, my two research interests converge on the question of why states or polities introduce direct democratic institutions in the first place. I am currently engaged in a multi-year project with Patrick Emmenegger and we are collecting detailed political-economy data in Swiss cantons from 1830-2000.
- Data Science: My main objective is to provide empirical tools and techniques able to overcome current limitations. I have lately spent considerable time on survey reaearch and how to work with surveys. Lots of empirical work on representation needs at some point a measure of public opinion. These measures are often needed for subgroups or subnational areas. Here, I focus on how to apply MrP in data scarce environments and how to find optimal models. The first focus led to a forthcoming paper with Fabio Wasserfallen where we introduce MrR and MrsP (two estimators with less stringent data requirements). The latter goal, optimal model selection for MrP, I am pursuing in a current project with Philipp Broniecki.