My research concentrates on the chances and risks for democracy in a world that is - economically, politically, and societally - increasingly interconnected. 

I am member of the Leibniz-funded [»] research network "External Democracy Promotion" [»].

Ongoing Project

2016-2018. Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS), "Telecommunications Politics in Authoritarian Developing Countries" (CHF 251.878), Principal Investigator with Cinzia dal Zotto (University of Neuchâtel). [»]
This project offers a comprehensive analysis of political effects of information and communications technologies (ICT) in authoritarian developing countries focusing on the influence of varying types of ownership of commercial internet service providers (ISP). We explore how and when authoritarian rulers are restricted in their control of ICT if the state is no majority shareholder through theory-guided and rigorous empirical research in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We use large-N analysis [all SSA; 1970-2015] to identify determinants of the effect of ownership on the likelihood of internet shutdowns, and small-N case studies to investigate how different types of ownership restrict a state’s coercive use of ICT.

Completed Project

2013-2017. Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), NCCR Democracy, "Democratic Governance in and through Transgovernmental Networks" (CHF 315.000), Principal Investigator with Sandra Lavenex (University of Geneva). [»]
While research into transgovernmentalism has hitherto mainly focused on the effectiveness of this inter-administrative cooperation in terms of political problem-solving, this project studies whether (a) this kind of cross-border rule-making poses a challenge to democracy, or (b) whether it contributes to greater democratic governance and legitimacy in global politics. The project tackles these questions not just by analyzing EU and global transgovernmental networks in isolation but also by studying both citizens’ perception of them and their representation in the media. In doing so, the project intends to reach a more profound understanding of the democratic quality and challenges of such rather novel forms of political cooperation.