At the Chair of Political Science, especially Policy Analysis and Political Theory, we analyze various policy areas in a comparative perspective. In particular, we focus on the fields of education and social policy. We have a specific interest in understanding processes of policy-making, i.e., which actors are involved in policy-making, how they influence policies, and how this differs across countries. In addition, we examine the social outcomes of these policies, such as inequality, attitudes, and participation, and how these outcomes feed back into policy-making processes. Two major and several smaller projects advance our knowledge in these areas:

A first major component of our research investigates the political economy of vocational and higher education systems in Western democracies. This research seeks to understand how vocational and higher education systems differ across countries. More specifically, it analyzes how political parties and other actors have shaped current vocational and higher education systems in the postwar decades, and how these early decisions have come to restrict the scope of action of later governments. In addition, this research is interested in the effects of vocational and higher education systems on socio-economic equality and public attitudes. For further information also consult website.

Signature Publications:

Busemeyer, Marius R. & Christine Trampusch. 2012. The Political Economy of Collective Skill Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Busemeyer, Marius R. 2015. Skills and inequality: The political economy of education and training reforms in western welfare states. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Winner of the 2015 Stein Rokkan Prize in Comparative Social Science Research.

Garritzmann, Julian L. 2015. The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance. The Politics of Tuition Fees and Subsidies in OECD countries, 1945-2015. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Busemeyer, Marius R. & Susanne Hastert. 2017. Bildungspolitik: Nicht alles anders aber manches. In: Felix Hörisch & Stefan Wurster (eds.). Das grün‐rote Experiment in Baden-Württemberg : eine Bilanz der Landesregierung Kretschmann 2011-2016. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, pp. 125-158.

A second major research area of the Chair of Political Science focuses on public opinion towards education policies and the role of public opinion in education policy-making. Having conducted an original survey in eight European countries, our researchers are now able to examine specifically which education policies are supported by the public, on which contextual factors citizens’ attitudes depend, and how attitudes change when citizens are reminded that policy-making typically involves trade-offs between different policy areas. For more detailed information on this research area, please consult the project’s website.

Signature publications:

Busemeyer, Marius R., Julian L. Garritzmann, Erik Neimanns, & Roula Nezi. 2017, forthcoming. Investing in Education in Europe: Evidence from a New Survey of Public Opinion. Journal of European Social Policy.

Busemeyer, Marius R. & Julian L. Garritzmann. 2017. Public Opinion on Policy and Budgetary Trade-offs in European Welfare States: Evidence from a New Comparative Survey. Journal of European Public Policy: 1-29.

In addition to these major projects, we analyze the origins, dynamics and outcomes of social and educational policies in a cross-national perspective in various smaller research projects. For example, the projects of our doctoral and post-doctoral researchers investigate intergenerational solidarity in different welfare states, the policy-making activities of radical right-wing parties, the connection between educational institutions and political participation, and the role of teacher unions in promoting education and social investment policies. You can find further information on these projects on the websites of our team members!

The overarching topic of the research in our team is the establishment of a political science perspective on the international comparison of education systems, politics and policies. The various projects in our research program analyze the political economy of collective skill formation systems, the role of political parties in the reform of education systems, the analysis of individual and institutional determinants of individual policy preferences on education policies as well as the study of the relationship between educational and socio-economic inequality.

For an overview see:

Busemeyer, Marius R. / Trampusch, Christine, 2011: Comparative Political Science and the Study of Education. British Journal of Political Science 41(2): 413-443. 

Busemeyer, Marius R. / Nikolai, Rita, 2010: Education, in: Francis G. Castles / Jane Lewis / Herbert Obinger / Chris Pierson / Stephan Leibfried (eds.): The Oxford Handbook on Welfare State Policy. Oxford / New York: Oxford University Press, 494-508.