Federalism, Direct Democracy, and Welfare State Expansion

The topic of my PhD dissertation. In the project, I have been investigating how sub-national jurisdictions manage to prevent a race to bottom with regard to social security provision via interstate cooperation. In addition, I have focused how direct democratic instruments, namely initiatives and referendums, influence the provision of social expenditure in the presence of small and large government coalitions. Moreover, I have also addressed the question of how the Swiss cantons achieved full health insurance coverage during the 20th century in the absence of a mandatory insurance law on the national level. The research was accompained by an extensive data collection, covering new data on the party composition of cantonal parliaments and governments, social policy laws, and insurance coverage in the Swiss cantons in the 19th and 20th century. The results of my PhD are forthcoming in the Journal of Politics and the Journal of European Social Policy.

In a follow-up project, Cecilia Bruzelius and I are focusing on the question why barriers against the movement of the poor were abolished in Federal States with focus on the North German Confederation.


A Race to the Middle. The Politics of Interstate Cost Distribution and Welfare State Expansion, The Journal of Politics, 2019

The Partisan Composition of Cantonal Governments in Switzerland, 1848-2017. A new Dataset [with Patrick Emmenegger], Swiss Political Science Review, 2018

Taking the Initiative! Direct Democracy, Coalition Governments, and Welfare State Expansion, Journal of European Social Policy, 2018