Current research

Our research covers various aspects of Comparative Politics, Interdependence and Globalization. Read a brief outline of current research projects of CPIG team members below:

The dialectic of globalization

In the context of this research project, Christian Martin is interested in the backlashes against free trade, migration, and open societies more generally. The project has a number of components, among them four articles that deal with a) sources of support for redistribution and their relationship with the influx of refugees to Germany in 2015 (co-authored with David Benček), b) the question how hate crimes against refugees spread and how this spread can be explained (co-authored with David Benček), c) the demise of social democracy as a viable political competitor in most European countries (co-authored with Mona Krewel), d) the rise of the AfD in the 2017 German federal elections as a result of their mobilization efforts.

In a book that is currently under preparation, Christian Martin more generally identifies four key developments that have given rise to the resurgence of nationalism and the rejection of globalization. These are a) a narrowing down of the policy space on an economic dimension and a resulting increased importance of the societal and cultural dimension of politics, b) a “there-is-no-alternative” rhetoric that began with the market oriented reforms of the early 1980s and culminated during the 2008ff. world financial economic and sovereign debt crisis, c) an increase in inequality in practically all advanced western democracies, d) the pervasiveness of cultural change and the ensuing prominence of identity topics in political competition. For further information, contact Christian Martin.

Blockchain technology

This research project of Christian Martin and Peter Graeff will investigate the impact of blockchain technology on the role of intermediaries in organizations. We will compare four different ideal types of organizations. These types can be distinguished on one dimension by their relative importance of transaction costs for their operations. The other dimension pertains to the organization’s position as either between the private sector and the government.

We expect to find a differentiated impact of blockchain technology on the role of intermediaries in all four contexts. We hypothesize that blockchain adoption will be most readily embraced by actors in the private sector where potential transaction cost economies are large. Blockchain technology is least likely to be adopted in a government context with little transaction cost. The residual categories should be in an intermediate position with the specific outcome an effect of societal and political circumstances.

A special focus will be on the potential to minimize transaction costs within organizations by using permissioned (private) blockchains. Another area of research pertains to the interface between private and public entities. Generally speaking, this is the interface where compliance issues are most relevant to an organization’s operation. We will investigate the potential of blockchain technology to change the governance of compliance at these interfaces and within organizations.

When thinking about the potential of blockchain technology, one important issue to consider is stakeholder acceptance. Therefore, research into the regulatory implications and the governance of the societal environment to which blockchain technology is brought is an important matter. It seems plausible to assume that different organizations are of differentiated openness to the acceptance of new technology, irrespective of transaction cost savings. For further information, contact Christian Martin.

Political and economic change in the post-Soviet space

Why do some countries allow for open political and economic competition, while others restrict access to economic and political resources to a few powerful people? Under which conditions do societies transit from the latter system to the former? And why do they often get stuck in the process? Focusing especially on the countries included in the Eastern Partnership of the European Union, such as Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova, Esther Ademmer jointly with colleagues from the Chair of European Integration at Freie Universität (FU) Berlin addresses these questions in a comparative fashion. The research is done in the framework of the Horizon 2020 project EU-STRAT that is coordinated by FU Berlin and that Esther Ademmer is associated with. Visit or contact Esther Ademmer for further information.

Attitudes towards migration and regional integration

Since the refugee crisis, attitudes towards immigration and the European Union (EU) have come to be a major challenge for the European integration process. Right-wing populist parties campaign on anti-immigrant and anti-EU issues and have arguably contributed to an increasing polarization of European societies. In this project, Esther Ademmer and colleagues from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy analyse a large set of comments of social media users to explore whether and to what extent the EU has indeed been increasingly contested in the course of the refugee crisis and whether this has changed political conflict in the EU on the micro-level. This research is conducted in the framework of the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration in Europe (MEDAM) at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Visit or contact Esther Ademmer for further information.

The diffusion of morality policy

The field of morality policy lacks comparative analyses across laws that vary in the degree to which they reflect characteristics of morality policy. This study takes state-level Same Sex Marriage Bans, Medical Marijuana Laws and Anti-Obesity legislation in the USA as cases with varying levels of morality policy’s characteristics and investigates the way their diffusion differs. Victor Cruz explains differences in the magnitude of learning-driven diffusion, controlling for theoretically relevant domestic factors, through Event History Analysis and Seemingly Unrelated Estimations. He finds that the magnitude of diffusion increases as policies reflect less characteristics of morality policy. Moreover, based on the results, Victor Cruz infers that policies with high moral content diffuse preceded by a bounded-learning process, information about which is heavily drawn from polities with similar moral attributes; learning about legislation with moderate and minimal characteristics of morality policy not only occurs selectively, but rather, information is retrieved from ideologically dissimilar polities, too. For further information, contact Victor Cruz.

Adoption of policy innovations

The study of the spread of policy innovations across political units has deep roots within political science. With the introduction of event history analysis, Berry & Berry (1990) fostered a large body of work within the United States and abroad that examines the internal and external determinants of policy innovation adoption. Throughout much of the history of this research, geographic patterns of adoption were the primary mechanism through which diffusion was expected to occur. Lawrence J. Grossback, Sean Nicholson-Crotty, and David A. M. Peterson (2004) offered their own innovation within the research program, which enhanced attention to the ideological pathways through which some policies spread. Jointly with Daniel Mallinson (Penn State), Victor Cruz seeks to provide clarification for an important aspect of their measure of relative ideology that has been inconsistently applied in subsequent studies: tied adoptions. As the study of ideological patterns of diffusion progresses, it is important to ensure our measure of this key concept is reliable and consistent across studies. Otherwise, it will be difficult to gather summative evidence of its generalizability across policies and time. For further information contact Victor Cruz.