Research

Within the field of comparative political economy, my work focuses on liberalization dynamics in finance, corporate governance, and the welfare state. Approaching this from an institutionalist vantage point, I’m particularly interested in how ideas and discourse affect change.

To make it more tangible: In my doctoral dissertation I revisit the puzzle of why German policymakers and the public at large seemingly out of nowhere came to favor pension privatization by the end of the 1990s (eventually leading to the „Riester Reform“). I show, inter alia, that ideas pertaining to German pension privatization actually have a long history dating back to debates about capital formation in the 1950s. It was not until the 1990s, however, that the policy goal of private capital formation was redirected toward old-age provision as part of the financial liberalization program. Policymakers then took the policy prescription developed in finance and translated it to the pension arena, making it seem as if the idea of privatization conjured up on the agenda. A co-authored paper refers to this mechanism of institutional change as „borrowing from within.“

Other projects examine how this „pension-finance nexus“ helps explain pension privatization reforms (and reversals) in Russia and how Gangstarap may be an auspicious lens through which to better understand neoliberalism as an everyday life paradigm.

Work in Progress:

„Borrowing from within: Ideas as a Transmission Belt for Endogenous Institutional Change,“ (with Martin B. Carstensen).

„Great Reversals: Russian Pension (De) Privatization Reforms in Hard Times,“ (with Elena Maltseva).

Published Research:

„Ideas of Financialization: The Paradigm Shift Underlying German Financial Diversification,“ New Political Economy, 2017.

„Das neoliberale Paradoxon des deutschen Gangstaraps: Von gesellschaftlicher Entfremdung und der Suche nach Anerkennung,“ with Alexander Bendel. In Deutscher Gangstarap II: Popkultur als Kampf um Anerkennung und Integration, Marc Dietrich und Martin Seeliger (eds). Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. (Forthcoming)

„Financial Deglobalization: Resurgence of Nation States During and After the Great Recession“, Journal of Political Inquiry, Spring Issue 2013.