Attitudes towards Federalism in Germany and Switzerland (AttFed)

The research is divided into two sub-projects. In the first sub-project, several dimensions of attitudes towards federalism are conceptualized. The aim is to improve on previous studies by using differentiated indicators to measure regional identity through web probing (a survey method that integrates cognitive interviewing techniques into online surveys) and by using data collected from all regions of a country from a large number of respondents, thus allowing for the efficient application of multilevel analysis techniques. In the second sub-project, the variability (and stability) of preferences for centralization is explored. Existing research shows that the population is not particularly well informed about the federal division of powers and that its attitudes may thus be inconsistent. These issues are explored further using a vignette experiment, asking respondents to evaluate reform proposals on various topics that would involve a shift of responsibility from the regional to the national level. The influence of a strong regional identity in handling arguments about the pros and cons of federalism will also be studied.

This is a collaboration with Eva-Maria Trüdinger and Achim Hildebrandt from the University of Stuttgart and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). We will conduct our public survey in 2023 and expect to present the first findings in 2024.

Latin Political Culture and Multi-Level Governance (CUPOLA)

The objective of this research projet is to find out whether members of language minorities in federal states (Switzerland, Belgium and Canada) have different views and attitudes towards their federal political system compared with their fellow citizens of the majority language (German/Italian, Dutch or English). The respondents from France, the USA and Australia will serve as Latin or federal « benchmarks ». In addition, a conjoint experiment is planned, in which respondents will be presented with different scenarios regarding decision making in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Respondents would then have to choose the preferred scenario, so that we could compare them along the individual attributes. The survey was conducted in Autumn 2020/2021 (N = 8’749).

This is a collaboration with Prof. Sean Mueller of the Institute of Political Studies of the University of Lausanne and researchers from other universitites (click here for more information).

« Political Culture(s) Under Threat? The Impact of Language on Political Values and Attitudes », Under Review, with Sean Mueller (University of Lausanne)

« Trust, but Verify? Understanding Citizen Attitudes Towards Evidence-Informed Policy Making », accepted for publication in Public Administration, Valérie Pattyn (Leiden University).

Politicians’ Evaluation of Public Opinion Perceptions (POLEVPOP)

The main question in this project is how politicians form their perceptions of the public opinion. In the first wave (POLPOP I), the project focus on surveying Swiss politicians from the National Council (« Nationalrat ») and the Council of States (« Ständerat ») as well as regional politicians.. As part of our study, we ask politicians to estimate what percentage of the population is in favor (or against) a specific and timely policy proposal. An exceptionally high number of 368 Swiss politicians participated in our study (61-88% per parliament). A representative survey among 10’000 Swiss citizens was conducted to learn what they think about very specific policy proposals. In the second wave, we will focus on political conflicts.

This project is a collaboration with Prof. Frédéric Varone of the Department for Political Science and International Relations at Geneva University and embedded in the ERC project « How politicians evaluate public opinion (POLEVPOP) » by Prof. Stefaan Walgrave from the University of Antwerpen (click here for more information).

« Do Personality Traits Increase Political Representation? », Under Review, with Frédéric Varone (University of Geneva), Peter Loewen (University of Toronto) and Christian Breunig (University of Konstanz).

« Too honest and humble to run for office? The impact of personality traits on citizens’ nascent political ambition and recruitment », with arc van de Wardt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Peter Loewen (University of Toronto), Anne Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen), Lior Sheffer (Tel Aviv University) and Frédéric Varone (University of Geneva).