SFB Seminar Series 2015

Details about the seminars can be found in our archive here.

Overview of Seminars in 2015:

January 26: Bernhard Ebbinghaus & Elias Naumann, University of Mannheim
February 2: Thomas König & Moritz Osnabrügge, University of Mannheim
February 9: Nikolay Marinov, University of Mannheim
February 16: Renee Bowen - Stanford Graduate School of Business
March 2: Carsten Jentsch & Eun Ryung Lee, University of Mannheim
March 16: Martin Halla - University of Innsbruck, IZA, NRN
March 23: Hans Peter Grüner, University of Mannheim
April 20: Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University
April 29: Mattias Polborn, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
May 4: Jason Eichorst, University of Mannheim
May 18: Michael Bechtel, University of St.Gallen
May 21: Ora John Reuter, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Higher School of Economics, Moscow
September 10: Stefan Bauernschuster, University of Passau
September 14: Dominik Duell, University of Toulouse
September 24: David A. Savage, University of Newcastle, Australia
September 28: Andreas Landmann & Niels Kemper, SFB 884
October 12: Aniol Llorente-Saguer, Queen Mary University London
November 9: Enriqueta Aragonès, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
November 16: Friedrich Heinemann, Eckhard Janeba & Christoph Esslinger, SFB 884
December 7: Jean-Robert Tyran, University of Vienna


Joint MZES-SFB Workshop: Political Forecasting

Time: Friday, December 18, 2015
A 5,6 - room A 231

Content: Political scientists increasingly have a wealth of traditional (polling data) and non-traditional (political textual data) information at their disposal that they can use to help make predictions or forecasts about the future. This workshop will bring together academic and industry perspectives on how to generate good political models for forecasting in an era of plentiful (or too much) data. A concluding roundtable discussion will focus on the possible benefits and pitfalls of incorporating non-traditional data (such as political texts, tweets, etc.) into forecast models.

Keynote: Keynote speaker is Dr. Drew Linzer. Drew Linzer is a statistician and survey scientist in Oakland, CA. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emory University and professional pollster in California and Washington, DC. His research has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, International Journal of Forecasting, Political Analysis, Political Science Research and Methods, Journal of Politics, World Politics, Social Science & Medicine, and the Journal of Statistical Software. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Friday, 18th December, Room A.231


08:45 09:00

Opening Welcome

Marc Debus, MZES & SFB 884

09:00 10:00

Dynamics of strategic voting in

German election campaigns

Julia Partheymüller, University of Mannheim

10:00 10:30

Coffee Break

10:30 11:30

Forecasting coalition formation

in Germany

Marc Debus, University of Mannheim

Thomas Bräuninger, University of Mannheim

Jochen Müller, University of Greifswald

11:30 13:00

Lunch Break

13:00 14:00

Keynote Address: The limitations

of fundamentals-based

U.S. presidential election forecasting

Drew Linzer, votamatic.org

Benjamin Lauderdale, London School of Economics

14:00 15:00

Forecasting Voter Turnout at UK Elections

Simon Munzert, University of Konstanz

Andreas Murr, Oxford University

15:00 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 16:30

Predicting self-fulfilling crises

Christopher Gandrund, City University London

Tom Pepinsky, Cornell University

16:30 17:30

Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by: Thomas Gschwend and

Nicole Baerg, University of Mannheim


Participant Dinner



Workshop: Policy Making, Institutions and Reforms: Theory and Evidence

Time: Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5, 2015
Schneckenhof Ost - SO 418/422

Content: The goal of this workshop is to bring together political economists and political scientists to present and discuss recent theoretical and empirical research in political economy. The SFB 884 is a member of the European Political Economy Consortium which also includes LSE, Warwick, Toulouse and Bocconi. This workshop is intended to strengthen academic links between the SBF 884 members and researchers from the participating institutions interested in political economy questions.

Preliminary program:

Friday, 4th December, Room SO 418/422
(Talks to be 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes discussion)

09:45 10:00


Thomas König & Galina Zudenkova, University of Mannheim

10:00 11:00

The Politics of Strategic Budgeteering

Vera Troeger, University of Warwick
(with C. J. Schneider)

Discussant: Jonathan Klingler, Toulouse School of Economics

11:00 11:30

Coffee Break



Segregation in Schools,

the Echo Chamber Effect,

and Labour Market Discrimination

Ronny Razin, London School of Economics and Political Science

(with G. Levy)

Discussant: Peter Buisseret,
University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

12:30 13:30

Lunch Break


Men Vote in Mars, Women Vote in Venus:
A Survey Experiment in the Field

Vincenzo Galasso, Bocconi University
(with T. Nannicini)

Discussant: Niall Hughes, University of Warwick

14:30 15:30

Electoral Systems and Support

for Female Candidates

Karine van der Straeten, Toulouse School of Economics

(with S. N. Golder, L. B. Stephenson, A. Blais, D. Bol, P. Harfst, J. Laslier)

Discussant: Rafael Hortala-Vallve,

London School of Economics and Political Science

15:30 16:00

Coffee Break

16:00 17:00

Networks and Ideology

Francesco Squintani, University of Warwick

(with T. Dewan)

Discussant: Patrick Le Bihan, Toulouse School of Economics

17:15 18:15

Consortium member meeting



Dinner at Onyx


Saturday, 5th December, Room  SO 418/422
(Talks to be 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes discussion)

09:00 10:00

Credit Market Frictions and Political Failure

Massimo Morelli, Bocconi University
(with M. S. Aney, M. Ghatak)

Discussant: Kirill Pogorelskiy, University of Warwick

10:00 11:00

The Political Economy of Enforcing

Conditional Welfare Programs:
Evidence from Brazil

Fernanda Brollo, University of Warwick

(with K. Kaufmann, E.  La Ferrara)

Discussant: Piero Stanig, Bocconi University

11:00 11:30

Coffee Break

11:30 12:30

Competitive Elections between Rival Teams

Torun Dewan, London School of Economics and Political Science

(with R. Hortala-Vallve)

Discussant: Salvatore Nunnari, Bocconi University

12:30 13:30

Lunch Break

13:30 14:30

On the Political Economy of

University Admission Standards

Philippe De Donder, Toulouse School of Economics

(with F. Martinez-Mora)

Discussant: Helios Herrera,
HEC Montreal

14:30 15:30

Electoral Competition with

Rationally Inattentive Voters

Filip Matejka, CERGE-EI

(with G. Tabellini)

Discussant: Stephane Wolton,
London School of Economics and Political Science

Funded by 

With regard to content, please contact Galina Zudenkova.
On organizational matters, please contact Marina Jesse or Margarita Maklakova.


Joint Econ Department - SFB Talk: The Power of Transparency: Information, Identification Cards and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia

Prof. Rema Hanna, Ph.D. - Harvard University is giving a talk on The Power of Transparency: Information, Identification Cards and Food Subsidy Programs in Indonesia.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - 5:15 - 6:45 p.m.
L7, 3-5 HS001

Abstract: Can governments improve aid programs by providing information to beneficiaries? In our model, information can change how much aid citizens receive as they bargain with local officials who implement national programs. In a large-scale field experiment, we test whether mailing cards with program information to beneficiaries increases their subsidy from a subsidized rice program. Beneficiaries received 26 percent more subsidy in card villages. Ineligible households received no less, so this represents lower leakage. The evidence suggests that this effect is driven by citizen bargaining with local officials. Experimentally adding the official price to the cards increased the subsidy by 21 percent compared to cards without price information. Additional public information increased higher-order knowledge about eligibility, leading to a 16 percent increase in subsidy compared to just distributing cards. In short, increased transparency empowered citizens to reduce leakages and improve program functioning.

Co-authors: Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Jordan Kyle (Columbia University), Benjamin A. Olken (MIT) & Sudarno Sumarto (TNP2K and SMERU)


Joint CDSS-SFB 884 Workshop: Game-theoretic Models of International Conflict

Prof. Songying Fang, Department of Political Science, Rice University, will be Visiting Researcher at the SFB 884 "Political Economy of Reforms" at the University of Mannheim in May and June 2015.

This joint SFB 884-CDSS workshop is designed to help graduate students and young researchers make the transition from understanding basic game theoretical concepts and techniques to the application of these techniques in the study of international politics. The course will combine lectures reviewing specific techniques with published papers that apply these techniques. The topics will range from bargaining models of war to the effect of domestic politics on international conflict.

Songying Fang’s research focuses on how international institutions influence state behavior, using both game-theoretic and empirical analysis. She is particularly interested in domestic mechanisms that provide a link between international institutions and state foreign policy.


Some prior exposure to game theory is expected.


16.06.15 & 17.06.15, 10 AM - 4:30 PM (including breaks)

L9,7, room 308

You can sign up for the course through the CDSS course catalogue or by sending an email to registration(at)gess.uni-mannheim.de.


Joint Econ Department - SFB Talk: Cultural Differences and Institutional Integration

Prof. Massimo Morelli, Ph.D. - Bocconi University is giving a talk on Cultural Differences and Institutional Integration.

Tuesday, April 14 2015 - 5:15 - 6:45 p.m.
45 L7, 3-5 HS001

Abstract: If citizens of different countries belonging to an economic union adhere to different and deeply rooted
cultural norms, when these countries interact their leaders may find it impossible to agree on efficient policies,
especially in hard times. Political leaders’ actions are bound to express policies that do not violate these norms.
This paper provides a simple positive theory and a compelling case study of the importance of cultural clashes
when economies integrate, as well as a normative argument about the desirability of institutional integration.
Namely, we argue that a political union, with a common institutions and enforcement of rules, is a solution
which is most beneficial the greater is cultural diversity in an economic union.

Co-authors: Luigi Guiso (EIEF Rome and CEPR) & Helios Herrera (HEC Montreal)


Joint GESIS-SFB Talk: Attrition in panel surveys

Prof. Peter Lugtig, Ph.D. - Utrecht University is giving a talk on Attrition in panel surveys.

Wednesday, April 1 2015 at 3:30 p.m.
SFB Seminar Room, Ground Floor L 13,17

Abstract: Panel studies are popular, mainly because they allow the study of change at both the micro- and macro level. In recent years, many different panel studies have either started or expanded, and this is especially the case in Germany. Sociologists and economists use data from these panel studies to document change within our societies. For example, they study household formation, income dynamics over time, and the link between attitudes and (later) behaviors.
One of the biggest problems in panel studies is attrition (dropout). Many respondents stop participating in panel surveys, and they do so for many different reasons. In this talk, I will discuss research documenting the predictors of various types of attrition, and discuss biases that result from this. Does the type of attrition depend on how the panel is managed? In the second part I will discuss potential solutions for reducing dropout in panel studies. Responsive and adaptive designs in particular can be used to tailor the panel management to the specific motivations respondents have for participating and dropping out of the study.


German Network of Young Microeconometricians: Topics in Health & Human Capital Formation

March 27 - 28, 2015 @Senate Hall - University of Mannheim

With regards to content, please contact Bettina Siflinger.
On organizational matters, please contact Marina Jesse or Margarita Maklakova.


Joint SFB-MZES talk: Identifying the Roots of the Reactionary Right: A Comparative Perspective

Prof. Christopher Parker, Ph.D. - Washington University, Seattle is giving a talk on Identifying the Roots of the Reactionary Right: A Comparative Perspective

Thursday, March 26 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
A5, 6 - A 231 (MZES)

Abstract: On both sides of the Atlantic, the reactionary right has achieved political relevance. In some places, e.g., as the United States, the UK, France, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, its political power is manifest. In others, such as Germany, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, its power is relatively latent, but may be easily mobilized. Based on my prior research in the US and Australia, I will present a theoretical and empirical approach that, despite differences in geography and national histories, illustrates why these movements are far more similar than they are different. I will also explain why the persistence of reactionary movements, and why they will be around for a very long time to come.


Talk: Learning About Legitimacy Using Laboratory Experiments

Prof. Erick Dickson, Ph.D. - New York University is giving a talk on Learning About Legitimacy Using Laboratory Experiments.

Thursday, March 19 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
A5, 6 - B316

Abstract: Officials with coercive powers (e.g., police, prosecutors, bureaucrats) vary markedly in the extent to which citizens view their actions as legitimate. In a series of laboratory experiments employing different institutional manipulations and different behavioral measures of legitimacy, we attempt to isolate non-material motivations underlying legitimacy and to study how these non-material motivations vary across different institutional (and other) settings.  An ultimate goal of the project is to learn how to build a psychologically-realistic model of legitimacy into a behavioral game-theoretic framework, to further our understanding of when and how citizens will believe authorities to be legitimate.

Sanford Gordon, Gregory Huber


Seminar: Multi-Level Modelling

Prof. Bart Meuleman, Ph.D. - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is giving a 5 day seminar on Mulit-Level Modelling.

The course will be held in two parts.
Part 1: 2 days of formal classes on the theoretical foundations of multi-level modelling.
Part 2: 3 days during which participants apply the models that were introduced during the theoretical lectures on a dataset of choice. Participants who do not have access to own data are provided with a training data set. During the practical sessions, participants receive tailor-made advice from the instructor. Participants are given the opportunity to present the analysis that they have carried out during the course.

Part 1: 26 and 27 February
Part 2: 25 - 27 March

If you would like to participate in the course, please register with Margarita Maklakova (management@reforms.uni-mannheim.de). Space is limited and distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

General Concept

During this five-day (2 days + 3 days) course, participants gain understanding in the conceptual logic and the statistical background of multilevel modeling and master the necessary skills to apply these models in the analysis of social survey data. The course focuses on models that are particularly useful for methodological research (e.g. models to study interviewer effects or panel attrition).

The focus of the first two days of the course is on the theoretical background of multilevel modeling. Theoretical lectures (10 hours in total) are held, and the participants have the opportunity to give a brief presentation in which they describe the multilevel problems they are struggling with.

During the second part of the course (3 days, to be held a several weeks after the initial two days) practical hands-on sessions are organized during which participants analyze a dataset of choice and receive intensive consulting from the instructor. At the end of the course, participants present the results they obtained.

Participants are required to have basic knowledge of statistics and to be familiar with regression analysis. Previous experience with multilevel analysis is not necessary. A more detailed description of the course contents can be found below.
Practical aspects
The maximum number of participants is 10. For the theoretical lectures, a room equipped with project beamer is needed. For the practical sessions, each participant is required to have access to a computer with multilevel software of choice installed (this can be SAS, SPSS, Stata or MlWin).

Part 1 (2 days) – theoretical background

Multilevel data, multilevel questions | Two-level regression models
Researchers are confronted with nested data (e.g. respondents are clustered within interviewers) and specific research questions (e.g. how do interviewer characteristics affect individual response behavior?). This introductory lecture starts with a conceptual discussion explaining why conventional statistical tools (such as the classical regression model) are not appropriate to deal with multilevel questions and multilevel data.

Subsequently, the two-level regression model for normally distributed data is introduced as an extension of classical regression. Random intercept and random slope model with lower-level and higher-level predictors are covered. The substantive meaning of multilevel parameters is discussed extensively.

Additional topics & software
This lecture continues with several additional issues that present themselves in multi-level modeling. The following topics are dealt with: statistical inference - model estimation - model evaluation - model comparison – assumptions of the multilevel model - categorical independent variables - standardization of parameters. Furthermore, it is shown how the models discussed can be estimated using well-known software packages such as SPSS, SAS, Stata or MlWin.

Multilevel logistic regression
Often, survey researchers are confronted with dependent variables that are not distributed normally (e.g. a dichotomous variable such as response vs. non-response). Such outcome variables clearly violate the assumption of normality. This lecture shows how the multilevel model from lecture 1 can be extended to accommodate non-normal data –i.e. the so-called generalized linear mixed model (GLMM). Subsequently, one particularly useful example of the GLMM, namely the multilevel binary logistic model, is dealt with in more detail.

Multilevel models for longitudinal data
A particular application of two-level regression model, namely the growth curve model, can be a very useful tool to analyze panel (repeated measurements) data. During this lecture, we also discuss the importance of disentangling within-level effects from between-level effects, and show how group-mean centering of variables can be used for this purpose.

Part 2 (3 days) – practical sessions & consulting

Participants apply the models that were introduced during the theoretical lectures on a dataset of choice. Participants who do not have access to own data are provided with a training data set. During the practical sessions, participants receive tailor-made advice from the instructor.
Participants are given the opportunity to present the analysis that they have carried out during the course. The remaining time is used for a question and answer session.


Workshop: Theoretical and Empirical Advances in International Political Economy Research

International relations research has long been emphasizing the role of domestic politics for international outcomes. Existing accounts study however mostly the interaction between governments and voters, while ignoring other important actors. In view of this, our workshop examines which role, for example, multinational firms, international courts, or central banks play for explaining international politics and presents theoretical as well as empirical research in international political economy.

Tuesday - February 10, 2015

Collaborative Research Centre SFB 884: “Political Economy of Reforms”

Conference Venue: A5, 6 - C 212  - University of Mannheim

09:00 - 9:10



        Thomas König (SFB 884 Spokesperson) and    

        Patrick Bayer (Washington University, St. Louis)

9:15 - 10:00

Leadership Survival, Regime Type and BITs

        Eric Arias (New York University),

        James Hollyer  (University of Minnesota), and

        Peter Rosendorff (New York University)

10:00 - 10:45

Government-Firm Bargaining over International Regulation: Evidence from European Carbon Markets

        Patrick Bayer (Washington University, St. Louis)


10:45 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:45

Warrant Enforcement and the Efficacy

of International Criminal Courts

  Emily Ritter (UC Merced) and

  Scott Wolford (University of Texas)

11:45 - 12:30

Estimating Central Bank Preferences

Combining Topic and Scaling Models

  Nicole Baerg (University of Mannheim) and

  Will Lowe (University of Mannheim)

12:30 -13:30


13:30 - 14:15

The Internationalization of Parliamentary Democracies. How the Implementation of International Policies Changes the Power Relationship in Domestic Legislatures

 Thomas König (University of Mannheim)

14:15 - 15:00

Do we have a consensus?" -

Analyzing Decision-Making at

Intergovernmental Meetings in the EU

 Moritz Marbach (University of Mannheim)

15:00 - 15:30


15:30 - 16:30

HRV Transparency Project

Peter Rosendorff (New York University)




Workshop der Panelsurveys in Deutschland - 05.&06.02.2015

The German Internet Panel at the SFB 884 is proud to host the 9th edition of the Workshop der Panelsurveys in Deutschland” (Workshop of panel surveys in Germany). Aim of the workshop is to provide a forum for researchers involved in planning and maintaining scientific longitudinal surveys in Germany.

The workshop features talks on both survey methodological questions and issues from survey practice in panel surveys. The workshop will be held February 5th and February 6th at the University of Mannheim in Room SO 422 .


             SO 418 & SO 422, Schloss Schneckenhof Ost

Thursday, 05.02.2015

Friday, 06.02.2015

For questions regarding the content/programme, please contact Ulrich Krieger. For organizational questions, please contact Marina Jesse


Workshop: Datenaufbereitung und Dokumentation - 04.&05.02.2015

Workshop on data documentation and data production

February 4th and February 5th the German Internet Panel at the SFB 884 is hosting a Workshop on questions in data documentation, handling, storage and data preparation. We invite experts from other survey projects in Germany to discuss how the process of providing access to research data to the scientific community can be improved.

The Workshop will be held at the University of Mannheim in Room SO 422.

For questions regarding the content/programme, please contact Ulrich Krieger. For organizational questions, please contact Marina Jesse.