Comparative Politics


Comparative Politics is a sub-discipline of political sciences. Like all political science, it seeks to explain “who gets what, when, and how” (Harold Lasswell). Specifically, comparative politics looks for these explanations primarily in the differences between different jurisdictions, for example, countries.

Comparative politics uses a range of theories and a host of empirical methods to answer its research questions. Historically, country and area studies have been widely used. More recently, advanced quantitative as well as qualitative methods are being employed in order to analyze the causes and effects as well as the mechanisms that underlie phenomena relevant to comparative politics.

Examples for such phenomena include:

  • Why have some countries democratized while others did not?
  • Why are welfare states different across advanced rich democracies?
  • Why do some countries have large party systems while there are only few parties in other countries?
  •  Why are some democratic revolutions successful while others fail?


At University of Kiel, the research group “Comparative Politics, Globalization and Interdependence” is primarily interested in phenomena that pertain to increasing cross-border transactions and interactions.

Such globalization phenomena are not limited to economic exchange but also have a bearing on political decision making. Moreover, the increasing interdependence between jurisdictions puts into question same of the assumptions of older approaches in comparative politics. Focusing on globalization phenomena is, therefore, not only interesting on a substantive level but has methodological implications as well.

Further Informationen: