SFB Seminar Series 2014

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

Overview of Seminars in 2014:

January 13: Philipp Denter, University of St. Gallen
January 16: Milan Svolik, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
January 30: Ken Scheve, Stanford University
February 17: Eric Smith, University of Essex
February 24: Karine van Der Straeten,Toulouse School of Economics
March 10: Akitaka Matsuo, Oxford University
March 27: Laurence Jacquet, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise
April 14: Pedro Bom, University of Vienna
May 5: Markus Wagner, University of Vienna
May 15: Michael Castanheira, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
May 19: Natasha Ezrow, University of Essex

September 15: Gabriele Gratton, University of New South Wales
September 25: Carlo Prato, Georgetown University
October 13: Ulrich Krieger, Annelies Blom, Dayana Bossert, University of Mannheim
October 27: Israel Waichman, University of Heidelberg
November 10: Zachary Greene, University of Mannheim
December 1: Markus Frölich, University of Mannheim
December 8: Jan Zapal, CERGE-EI Prague
December 15: Björn Vollan, University of Innsbruck


Public attitudes towards & socio‐political actors' positions on labour market policies in Europe

Thursday, December 4 & Friday, December 5, 2014
Dozentenzimmer, 0 126 (Schloss Ost)

Mannheim Palace, University of Mannheim

Until recently Pierson’s “new‐politics” perspective has been dominant in studying welfare state reform processes: welfare states were considered “immovable objects” due to path dependency and institutional inertia, in particular triggered by the status‐quo preference of both organized interests and a large majority of the public, receiving directly or indirectly welfare state services and transfers.

Both claims need careful analytical consideration and empirical verification. Departing from the strong emphasis on institutions and stability, welfare state research is now increasingly focusing on the conditions which facilitate social policy reforms, including changes in organized interests’ preferences and electoral attitudes.

The SFB workshop aims to bring together research on public opinion and welfare attitudes with research that focuses on the role of socio‐political actors such as trade unions, employers and parties. We plan to develop a theoretical framework to explain welfare state change, we empirically examine whether and how public opinion and the position of socio‐political actors change and how they are linked, and we aim to discuss innovative methodological tools to analyse welfare state
change. The focus of this workshop is on reforms in respect to labour market policies ranging from unemployment benefits to activation measures as one important but also a very contentious field of welfare state activity.

Thursday, Dec 4

12:15 – 13:00

Coffee, Snacks and Registration



13:00 – 14:30

Nate Breznau (University of Bremen)
Public Opinion and Social Spending in Rich Democracies: Reciprocal Effects and Societal Values




Christopher Buss (University of Mannheim)
Multiple dimensions of attitudes towards labor market policies?



14:30 – 14:45

Coffee Break



14:45 – 16:45

Patrick Sachweh (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Empathy, Insecurity, or Self-Interest: What's behind Popular Support for the Welfare State in Times of Economic Crisis?




Elias Naumann (University of Mannheim)
Individual Experience of Labor Market Risks and Support for the Welfare State




Paul Marx (University of Southern Denmark, Odense) Unemployment and political interest during the impressionable years



16:45 – 17:00

Coffee Break



17:00 – 18:30

Hanna Schwander (University of Bremen)

Modernize and Die? The electoral consequences of the Agenda 2010 for the Social Democratic party in Germany




Carsten Jensen (Aarhus University)
Welfare State Cutbacks and Electoral Punishment







Friday, Dec 5

9:00 – 11:00

Timo Weishaupt (University of Mannheim)
Producer Group Politics? Explaining Germany’s Employment Miracle during the Great Recession




Marek Naczyk (University of Oxford)
Creating French-style pension funds: business, labour and the battle over patient capital




Johan Bo Davidsson (Lund University)
The Limits of Solidarity - Unions, Redistribution and the Rise of Private Unemployment Insurance in Sweden



11:00 – 11:15

Coffee Break



11:15 – 13:00

Bernhard Ebbinghaus (University of Mannheim)
Welfare state reform support from below: linking individual attitudes and organized interests in Europe




Elias Naumann (University of Mannheim)
The German Internet Panel (GIP)




Timo Weishaupt (University of Mannheim)
Labor market interviews



In charge: Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Elias Naumann


Conference: Computational linguistics in political science: What have you done for me lately?

Friday, 31 October & Saturday, 1 November 2014

                                                              Conference Venue: Senate Hall - University of Mannheim

Friday, 31 October

09:30 - 9:45



 Thomas König

 SFB 884 Spokesperson


9:45 - 10:00


 Heiner Stuckenschmidt

 Chair of Artificial Intelligence & SFB 884


10:00 - 10:30

LDA models topics... but what are topics?

 Wouter van Atteveldt

 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


10:30 - 11:00

Measuring Bias of User Generated Content


 Christian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil

 Max Planck Institute for Software Systems

11:00 - 11:30


11:30 - 12:00

Global or Domestic Dirty Laundry? Industrial Interests and States’ Positions on International Climate Cooperation

 Federica Genovese

 University of Essex

12:00 - 12:30

The Emergence of the European Integration Dimension in National Party Systems


 Thomas König, Moritz Marbach & Moritz   


 SFB 884 – Project C6


12:30 -13:30


13:30 - 14:00

Speaking Under Stress: An Analysis of Federal Research Speeches


 Christopher Gandrud

 Hertie School of Governance

14:00 - 14:30

Revealed public opinion about the Supreme Court in microblogic communication settings

 Tom Clark & Jeff Staton

 Emory University

14:30 - 15:00

Lightning Presentations


Statistical Inference on Party Positions from Texts: Statistical Modeling, Bootstrap and Adjusting for Time Effects using Penalization Methods

 Carsten Jentsch & Eun Ryung Lee

 SFB 884 – Project B6


Central Bank Communication

 Sahil Deo

 Hertie School of Governance


Welfare State Reform: Support from Below

 Julia Klitzke

 SFB 884 – Project A6


Channeling Bolivia's Pachamama: Unique legislative speech in centralized parties

 Jason Eichorst

 SFB 884 – Project C4

15:00 - 15:30


15:30 - 16:00


 Simone Paolo Ponzetto

 University of Mannheim

16:00 - 16:45



 Arthur Spirling

 Harvard University


Dinner at Onyx

Saturday, 1 November

09:30 - 10:00

A Memo on Nonverbal Communication in Parliamentary Hearings

  Cheryl Schonhardt Bailey
London School of Economics and Political              Science

10:00 - 10:30

Politeness and beyond

 Sebastian Pado
 University of Stuttgart

10:30 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:45


 Noah Smith
Carnegie Mellon University

11:45 - 12:45


12:45 -13:15

Closing Remarks

 Thomas Gschwend

 SFB 884

In charge: Will Lowe and Nicole Baerg, SFB 884 - Project C4, University of Mannheim


Joint CDSS - SFB 884 Workshop: Programming with Python

July 7-11 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (daily) at the SFB 884, L13, 15-17 room 519

CDSS and the SFB 884 "Political Economy of Reforms" are pleased to offer a 5 day intensive workshop on Python Programming for Natural Language at the University of Mannheim SFB 884 facilities, L13, 17. The course, held by Bernd Klein of Bodenseo, will provide an introduction to the computer programing language Python as well as an introduction to Natural Language Programing in Python. The course will emphasize the essentials of programming (loops, regular expressions, and writing programs) and will also train participants using the popular NLP toolkit NLTK. Some familiarity with programing would be useful but is not required. Attendees should take their laptop computers to the course and have already downloaded ANACONDA which contains the elements of Python that we will be working with.

The course is open to interested graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and interested faculty. Graduate students who actively participate in the course may have 3 ECTS accredited to their record in the doctoral program.

For further questions on the workshop, please contact Jan Sebastian Ebert at cdss@gess.uni-mannheim.de.
In order to sign up for the course (max. 10 participants), please send an e-mail to
registration@gess.uni-mannheim.de no later than July 3.

Course topics:
a) Numerical and sequential data types lists, tuples
b) Strings and usage
c) Dictionaries
d) Conditional Statements
e) Loops
f) Functions and recursive functions
g) An introduction to using and creating modules
h) Data streams and files
i) Strings and String Processing
j) Regular Expressions
k) Standard libraries
l) List Comprehension and lambda notation
m) Object Oriented Programming / n) List Comprehension and lambda notation
o) NLP, Basic Definitions
p) Corpora
q) Finite State Machines, Turing Machines
r) N-grams, Bigrams, Trigrams
s) Categorizing and Tagging Words 
t) Text Classification, Naive Bayes Classifier
u) Extracting Information from Texts
v) Word Stemmers
w) Analysing Sentence Structures
x) Building Feature Based Grammars
y) Analysing the Meaning of Sentences
z) Introduction into the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK)

Course sponsors: GESS/CDSS and SFB 884 (special thanks to Jun. Prof. Nicole Baerg)


Joint MZES - SFB 884 Talk: Mixed Signals - Crisis Lending and Capital Markets

June 25, 2:00 pm, at the MZES, A5,6 room A231

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 June 2014.

Prof. Fang will give talk on "Mixed Signals: Crisis Lending and Capital Markets" organize a joint SFB 884 and CDSS workshop course

Abstract: We analyze a formal model of crisis lending that incorporates bargaining, compliance and enforcement, and show that the effect of new crisis lending announcements on capital markets depends on the lender's political motivations. There are conditions under which lending reduces the risk of a deepening crisis and reduces the risk premium demanded by market actors. On the other hand, the political interests that make lenders willing to lend weaken the credibility of commitments to reform, and the act of accepting an agreement reveals unfavorable information about the state of the borrower's economy. The net "catalytic'' effect on the price of private borrowing depends on whether these effects dominate the beneficial effects of the liquidity the loan provides. Decomposing the contradictory effects of crisis lending provides an explanation for the discrepant empirical findings in the literature about market reactions, especially with regard to IMF programs. We test the implicatio ns of our theory by examining how sovereign bond yields are affected by IMF program announcements, loan size, the scope of conditions attached to loans, and measures of the geopolitical interests of the United States, a key IMF principal.
Authors: Terrence Chapman, Songying Fang, Xin Li, Randall W. Stone

Interested listeners are warmheartedly invited!


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

June 10, 10:00 am-5:00 pm and June 11, 9:00 am -1:00 pm, at A5,6 room B318

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 June 2014.

Prof. Fang will organize a joint SFB 884 and CDSS workshop course (1.5 day block seminar) on international conflict for doctoral students from within and outside the University of Mannheim (also open for post-docs).

Short description: This course is designed to help graduate students in political science 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. Some prior exposure to game theory is expected.


Workshop: Political Economy of International Organization

January, 30 2014 - 10:00 - 18:00

10:15-12:00: Ken Scheve - Stanford University
"Who Cooperates? Reciprocity and Public Goods Contributions in Representative Samples."

13:00-14:15: Zachary Greene - SFB 884, C2
"Friend or Foe? Preferences, Division and Leader Selection at Party National Congresses."

14:30-15:45: Nicole Baerg - SFB 884, C4
"Threatening to Defect: The Impact of Undocumented Workers on Support for the Democrats."

16:00-17:15: Patrick Bayer - Washington University in St. Louis
"Learning and Democratic Bargains on International Cooperation: An Empirical Analysis of Governmental Position Changes at the Nice Intergovernmental Conference."