Chair of Comparative Politics - Focus on European Institutions


The Chair is dedicated to the study of comparative politics with a focus on political institutions in Europe. These institutions are not restricted to the institutions of the European Union but also include national parliaments, national governments, national courts, and national administrations. Based on a theoretically informed systematic empirical analyses, we teach and study political phenomena within the European multilevel system. Our main focus is thereby to study the interplay of politics, administration, and courts in order to identify institutional (mis)behavior.

From this perspective, we mainly work in three areas. First, we work on the comparative analysis of policy complexity along with its causes and consequences. Second, we analyze patterns of policy change in morality policy areas, which includes issues closely related to first principles like euthanasia, abortion, prostitution, or same-sex marriage. This work extends to public health policy where we analyze the changing regulation of gambling and drugs. Third, we analyze empirical patterns of bureaucratic discrimination against citizens.

Adam, Christian
Adam, Christian Prof Dr


Our objective is to provide students a solid understanding of how political institutions in Europe operate and interact. Moreover, we enable students to pursue their own research objectives. To do so, our courses familiarize students with theoretically informed empirical research. This allows students to describe and explain political phenomena and governance problems and to controversially discuss potential solutions.


We focus on three main areas of research

  • Regulation and Public Policy

First, we analyze the causes and consequences of the continuously increasing complexity of regulation and public policy. This complexity is the result of a steady process of policy accumulation observable in almost all policy sectors. While this process is a direct manifestation of progress and modernization, it also creates severe side-effects. Essentially, it stands to question whether modern democracies have sufficient administrative capacity to successfully cope with the increasing workload created by this process. Moreover, the question is whether this process overburdens our cognitive, communicative, and deliberative skills needed for an informed and evidence-based political process.

  • Morality Politics

A second focal point is political contestation over morally sensitive issues. Typically, morality policy areas are described as those areas closely related to core values and first principles, such as euthanasia, abortion, prostitution, or same-sex marriage. It can, however, also include public health issues such as the regulation of gambling or drugs. We analyze different various different roles these contestations have in different countries, how this affects patterns of policy change and eventually policy impacts.

  • Bureaucratic Discrimination

Third, the work at the Chair focuses on empirical analysis of bureaucratic discrimination, i.e. discrimination by administrative entities against citizens. The main challenge in this line of research is to assess whether and to what extent discrimination actually exists and where it is particularly pronounced. With which research methods are we able to assess this question and how can we successfully mitigate discriminatory tendencies?

Time to decide

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