Mass Politics in Times of Automation

Widespread political dissatisfaction and the rise of populist parties have disrupted the politics of many advanced capitalist democracies. Brexit and the election of Donald Trump are just the most visible signals of rapidly changing patterns of mass opinion. 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.

  • Economic Hardship and Turnout: A Reference Point Approach
  • Economic Grievances and Protest (with Silja Häusermann, Bruno Wüest, and Matthias Enggist, under review, R+R)
  • The Declining Middle: Political Reactions to Occupational Change (under review) [PDF]


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.

  • The Politics of Trade-offs: Studying the Dynamics of Welfare State Reform with Conjoint Experiments (with Silja Häusermann and Denise Traber, under review, R+R). [PDF]


This collaborative project gathers scholars interested in the political consequences of technological change (pocotech). Together with Bruno Palier (Sciences Po), I have organized a series of workshops, which resulted in a special issue proposal currently under review. Please, get in touch if you are interested in this topic.

  • Political consequences of technological change (with Bruno Palier, special issue proposal, under review)

Other Projects

  • From Job Polarization to Political Discontent? (with Aina Gallego and Niko Schoell)
  • Inert and Insignificant? On the Electoral Relevance of Labor Market Outsiders (with Reto Bürgisser)