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About the Center

The Cologne Center for Comparative Politics (CCCP)

The Cologne Center for Comparative Politics (CCCP) brings together junior and senior political scientists at the University of Cologne, who work on comparative research related to electoral politics and representation, political institutions, political economy, and political methodology. The Center is currently comprised of 4 faculty members, 9 post doctoral fellows, and 23 doctoral students.

The Center’s primary goals are to promote scientific comparative political research that uses innovative research methods, and to provide a stimulating intellectual environment for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. To this end, the Center faculty offer BA and MA/PhD courses covering a range of topics in comparative politics. The Center moreover encourages and promotes a broad, yet rigorous, methods training of its students, reflected in a diverse set of methods courses in the MA/PhD program. Additionally, the Center organizes a regular research seminar for doctoral and MA students and hosts an international Lecture Series on the Microfoundations of Politics.

A central mission of the Center is to promote the use of a diverse set of innovative research designs. Projects hosted at the Center apply various approaches, ranging from comparative qualitative research, causal inference methods for observational data, multimethod research designs, laboratory and survey experiments, quantitative research, and computational and text analysis approaches. The CCCP research activities are organized around four interrelated areas:

 

1. Electoral Politics and Representation

Elections are the central mechanism linking citizens and their representatives in democracies. The research area Electoral Politics and Representation at the CCCP explores how citizens participate in elections and how elected politicians represent citizens’ interests in an increasingly complex world. Our research addresses questions related to political representation in multi-level political systems, such as the European Union, and questions related to the changing nature of party competition in democracies. The rise of populist parties in representative democracies in Europe and elsewhere poses new challenges for how political parties respond to citizen concerns and compete in elections. Projects in this research area furthermore investigate how political parties choose political candidates as well as questions of gender and migrant representation.

 

2. Political Institutions

Political institutions set the rules of the political game. Research at the CCCP on Political Institutions explores both how institutions are adopted, how they change, and what effects they have on representation and decision-making. This encompassing view of institutions allows us to examine general issues related to group decision-making and majority rule as well as specific institutions in the political process. These include representative institutions, such as electoral systems, parliamentary institutions and their effects on government-opposition conflict, and institutions in multi-level systems, including the European Union, and federal or decentralized political systems. This focus is complemented with studies focusing on institutional change and design at the national and European level.

 

3. Political Economy

The research area Political Economy covers studies on the social and political foundations of labor markets and financial markets in advanced capitalist democracies. In doing so, it assumes that the analysis of capitalism comprises more than the analysis of exchange and allocation processes on markets. Specific substantive topics of this research area are: the welfare state, industrial relations, skill systems, public and private debt, European economic integration, and the change of institutions and policies which regulate financial and labor markets. The market and the state are conceived of as being co-constitutive: the state defines and shapes the genesis and development of markets, and markets define and shape state intervention in markets and public policies. This co-constitutive relationship between the state and the market is analyzed at the national and sub-national level.

 

4. Methods Research

While all research projects hosted at the Center use rigorous methods to answer research puzzles, the Center also hosts projects that are specifically dedicated to advancing research on methods and causal inference more generally. For instance, researchers at the CCCP share a common interest in estimating political position of political actors (e.g. governments, legislators, political parties). To this end, several projects are dedicated to develop new political text analysis methods. Additionally, the Center promotes research on new methods in qualitative and multimethod research and their use for causal inference. This includes work on process tracing and case studies, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and multimethod designs combining statistical techniques or QCA with process tracing.

 

We invite you to explore these pages to find out more about our research activities and upcoming workshops and seminars. If you have any questions or require more information, please contact us by email, mail or phone.