Mass Politics in Post-Industrial Societies

My primary research interest are the political consequences of adverse labor market experiences and changing social hierarchies in post-industrial societies. In my dissertation, I have examined the extent to which occupational change and technological innovation are responsible for the political disruptions we currently observe. The main finding is that relative shifts in societal standing, an inevitable consequence of a changing employment structure, are key to understanding contemporary politics: it is a perception of relative decline among politically powerful groups – not their impoverishment – that drives support for nationalist populist movements.

  • The Declining Middle: Political Reactions to Occupational Change [PDF]

In other ongoing projects, I study the conceptualization of economic grievances, the impact of various forms of employment risk on political behavior, and the impact of a growing share of atypically employed voters on social democratic labor market policy.

  • Economic Hardship and Turnout: A reference-point approach.
  • From Job Polarization to Political Discontent? (with Aina Gallego and Niko Schoell, presented at APSA 2018)
  • Economic Risks within Households and Voting for the Radical Right (with Tarik Abou-Chadi, presented at EPSA and APSA 2018)
  • Inert and Insignificant? On the Electoral Relevance of Labor Market Outsiders (with Reto Bürgisser)

Technological Change and Employment Polarization

This collaborative project investigates the political consequences of technological change (pocotech). Together with Bruno Palier (Sciences Po), I co-edit a special issue currently under review.

  • Shrinking and Shouting: The Political Revolt of the Declining Middle in Times of Employment Polarization (with Bruno Palier, under review)
  • Distributional Consequences of Technological Change: Worker-Level Evidence (with Aina Gallego, under review)

The Politics of Trade-Offs

In this project, we have focused on an ambitious – and eventually unsuccessful – attempt at reforming the entire Swiss pension system in order to study multidimensional welfare politics. We followed the reform process over several years and collected individual-level panel data on (changing) attitudes towards the different reform elements relying on conjoint survey experiments. A first output of this project has just been accepted for publication in Comparative Political Studies (see publications) and we are working on several other working papers that build on this data set.

  • Voting Against the Party? Elite Influence on Public Opinion in Direct Democracy (with Céline Colombo, Silja Häusermann and Denise Traber, presented at EPSA 2018)