Current Projects

The Chair of International Politics is currently working on the following projects:

The Politics of Inequality (Excellence Cluster)

From Bad to Worse? Financial Crises, Polarization, and Inequality (with Prof. Almuth Scholl, Department of Economics)
Funded through the Excellence Cluster "The Politics of Inequality"

The ways in which countries have reacted to financial crises varies considerably. To understand these heterogeneous responses, we need to establish how citizens mobilize in times of financial stress and how the crisis-driven policy responses affect polarization and economic inequality. In the research project "From Bad to Worse", we offer a novel theoretical approach and rigorous empirical evidence to address three interrelated questions:
1. Do different types of financial crises have diverging effects on political polarization and economic inequality?
2. How do the fiscal and monetary anti-crisis-measures influence the short- and the long-term levels of economic inequality and political polarization?
3. Do financial crises and the immediate policy responses by the national government and international institutions such as the EU and the IMF trigger social conflict and mobilization?
The objective of our project is to develop a politico-economic theory of the interrelationship between financial crises, polarization, and economic inequality and to conduct systematic empirical tests. Our novel argument focuses on how the disparate mobilization of contending groups and policy interventions by constrained governments affect the risk of growing inequality in the wake of financial crises. Our theoretical framework will serve as a laboratory to conduct counterfactual policy experiments and to perform welfare analyses.
Project duration:
1/10/2019-30/9/2023 (start-up grant: 1/2/19-30/9/19)
Doctoral students: Tim Hermann (Scholl) and Oleksandr Shevchuk (Schneider)
Student assistants: Mark Kapteina (1/2/19-30/9/19)  and Frederike Rübsam (1/2/19-t.b.a.)

EUSANCT: Does Supranational Coercion Work? Onset, Impact and Effectiveness of EU Sanctions?

Funding: BEETHOVEN (Collaborative Scheme of German Reserach Foundation (DFG) and National Science Centre (NCN))

Economic sanctions are one of the most frequently used coercive measures in international politics. Although the European Union increasingly relies on this instrument since the end of the Cold War, the sanctioning policy of the supranational organization faces severe criticism. These objections include the accusations that the EU levies sanctions against the wrong target and that the effects are either negligible or even counterproductive. The EUSANCT project addresses these concerns and examines the onset, economic impact and effectiveness of EU sanctions through an over-arching political economy framework that extends existing sanctioning games. Understanding economic coercion as a stepwise process, the German-Polish research team will:

  • examine the extent to which coercive policymaking by the supranational organization is biased;
  • analyse the short- and long-term economic repercussions of sanctions in selected target countries by estimating financial market reactions and changes in trade, investment and development;
  • establish the short- and long-term economic consequences of these sanctions in two sender countries (Germany, Poland) by focusing on the stock market returns of exposed and less exposed sectors and firms;
  • assess the effectiveness of EU sanctions.

The four subprojects will complement each other and provide a comprehensive evaluation of the supranational sanctioning policy of the European Union between 1990 and 2014. To this end, the EUSANCT team will extend existing data sets on the threats and imposition of economic sanctions and use a broad mix of quantitative and qualitative techniques to answers the questions raised within the different subprojects. The project will enlighten academic and policy audiences about the chances and limitations of EU sanctions and discuss how the design of sanctions influences their impact and effectiveness. 

Project duration: 01.06.2016 - 31.05.2019

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Paulina Pospieszna (Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, Poland), Prof. Dr. Gerald Schneider (University of Konstanz, Germany)

Governing the Resource-Violence Nexus (GRVN): Commodity Management and Internal Violence

The resource curse literature has argued that an abundance of natural resources depresses a country’s economic growth and spurs the risk of the intrastate war. Yet, not all resource-rich countries experience violent conflict. Understanding such variation between peace and social instability requires a systematic analysis of how states regulate access to these abundant resources and try to solve uprisings and conflicts over them. This is the basic premise of the research project “Governing the Resource-Violence Nexus” (GRVN); it advances the proposition that this puzzling diversity of outcomes can be traced with considerable accuracy to the governance of commodities and resources.

For this purpose, the GRVN project will focus on two interrelated topics, namely resource access governance and the design of natural resource management. While we will test whether the type of ownership structure (private versus public / domestic versus foreign) is associated with the conflict potential of a country or region, we further differentiate between specific characteristics of resource management designs (e.g., specific contractual terms of resource exploration, competition structure within the resource extracting sector, inclusion of the local population in managerial decisions, among others) in a more detailed manner. Thus, the project will also explore the conditions under which specific resource governance structures affect the risk of domestic conflict.   

As the comprehensive analysis of resource conflicts and their avoidance requires a systematic database, we will build a global dataset on resource governance covering commodities such as oil or natural gas. Relying on a mixture of advanced tools in formal theory, econometrics and qualitative research techniques, the project intends to show which form of resource conflict management allows states to evade unjust arrangements and political violence. Internal conflict will be defined in broad terms, ranging from major civil wars over coup d’états to the exertion of violence against ethnic minorities.

Project duration: 36 months (from 2011) and extended project 01.07.2015 - 30.06.2017

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Gerald Schneider (University of Konstanz), Dr. Tim Wegenast (University of Konstanz)

Anneliese Maier Research Award: Modeling Conflict, Mobilization, and Violence

Funding: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung


Project duration: 2015-2020

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Kristian Gleditsch (University of Essex, UK), Prof. Dr. Gerald Schneider (University of Konstanz, Germany)