Sprechstundenzeiten / Office hours

Während des Semesters ist meine Sprechstunde in Göttingen immer Dienstags 13.00-15.00 Uhr. Bitte tragen Sie sich im StudIP für einen oder mehrere Zeitslots ein. Wenn ein Dienstag nicht freigegeben ist, oder wenn Sie Dienstags keine Zeit haben, schreiben Sie mir einfach eine Mail und wir finden einen anderen Termin.

In der vorlesungsfreien Zeit: Schreiben Sie mir einfach eine Mail mit einem Terminvorschlag.

During the semester, my office hours are tuesdays from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm. Please use the StudIP to reserve a time slot. If you don´t have time on tuesdays (or if a given tuesday is not open, or if the given tuesday is already full), just send me an email an we´ll find another date.

During the semester break: Just send me an email with some suggested dates.

Allgemein:

Wenn Sie bei mir eine Abschlussarbeit schreiben wollen, finden Sie hier einige Hinweise.

If you would like me to supervise your thesis, here are some points to consider.

Wenn Sie in die Sprechstunde kommen, weil Sie ein Gutachten von mir möchten: Hier sind die Spielregeln.

If you like me to write a letter of reference for you: Look here for some instructions.

The less complex consultation documents are, the more people participate

…that, in a nutshell, is the message of our newest article in Interest Groups & Advocacy. Together with Eva Ruffing, Tobias Burst and Katharina Chinnow, I analyze how the complexity of language in consultation documents impacts on the number and type of actors contributing to the consultation. The answer is simple: The simpler the language of the documents, the more people contribute to the consulation.

Abstract:

Consultations are thought to increase the legitimacy of policies. However, this reasoning only holds if stakeholders really participate in the consultations. Current scholarship offers three explanations for participation patterns: Institutional rules, policy characteristics, and interest group resources determine participation. This article argues that additionally the linguistic complexity of consultation documents influences participation. Complex language deters potential participants, because it raises the costs of participation. A quantitative analysis of the German consultation of electricity grids lends credibility to the argument: If the description of a power line is simplified between two consultation rounds, the number of contributions mentioning that power line increases. This result contributes to our understanding of unequal participation patterns, and the institutional design of participatory procedures. If we think that legitimacy is enhanced by broad participation, then language of the documents matters.

Fink, S., Ruffing, E., Burst, T., & Chinnow, S. K. (2021). Less complex language, more participation: how consultation documents shape participatory patterns. Interest Groups & Advocacy. doi: 10.1057/s41309-021-00123-2

Short blogpost on regulatory agencies & reputation

If you don´t have time to read the article: Eva Ruffing and I wrote a short piece on our latest research for the LSE´s European Public Policy Blog. The message is: Regulatory agencies strive to project a specific reputation (e.g. for technical competence). However, for capacity reasons, not all agencies can pursue all kinds of reputation. A comparison of the German Federal Network Agency and ACER illustrates the argument.

New article on spatial diffusion of party support

Together with Arda Kumbaracıbaşı I have a new article out on how support for parties is contagious along geographical lines.

I have applied some of the techniques I used for my policy diffusion articles to model the spread of votes for the AKP in Turkey:

Electoral geography is mostly concerned with the geographic distribution of voters and their attributes. We add a new argument to the discussion about electoral geography: that parties pursue geographically oriented stronghold strategies. Parties win electoral provinces, transform them into strongholds, and then use the stronghold´s resources to systematically target nearby provinces. We illustrate our argument with a quantitative analysis of the rise of the Turkish Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), utilizing a spatial diffusion perspective. Our analysis shows that the AKP has electoral gains in a given ‘receiver’ province if they have performed well in other ‘sender’ provinces in previous elections. This relation is moderated by geographical distance: only past electoral success in nearby ‘sender’ provinces has an impact on the electoral fortune of the AKP in the ‘receiver’ province. Thus, our argument is that geography matters and it channels party strategies.

New article on stakeholder consultations

Together with my esteemed colleague Eva Ruffing, I have co-authored a new article on the way agencies react to stakeholder consultations. The article is based on a paper we presented at ECPR Wroclaw, and is now published in the Journal of European Public Policy as part of the special issue „In Quest of Legitimacy: The Regulatory State in Transition„, edited by Caelesta Braun and Madalina Busuioc.

Stakeholder consultations as reputation-building: a comparison of ACER and the German Federal Network Agency

Stakeholder engagement is thought to increase the legitimacy of independent regulatory agencies (IRAs). However, there is little research on how IRAs use the information that stakeholders contribute. We argue that the organizational reputation approach can explain different reactions to stakeholder engagement. IRAs usually rely on a reputation based on technical expertise. However, if IRAs have little capacities, they fall back on procedural or moral reputation. We analyze the consultations of the German Federal Network Agency (FNA) and the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) on planning electricity networks. Both have complex audience situations and an incentive to cultivate a technical reputation. However, their capacities differ. The FNA has capacities to cultivate a technical reputation, and selectively discusses technical contributions. ACER has less capacities. It selectively reacts to comments that criticize procedural aspects of network planning. Hence, we show how reputational concerns and capacities shape consultation procedures.

Behördenleiter im Scheinwerferlicht der Öffentlichkeit

Meine neueste Publikation wurde stark vom Fall Hans-Georg Maaßen inspiriert: Über Wochen und Monate hinweg wurde über den damaligen Leiter des Verfassungsschutzes in den Medien berichtet. Da habe ich mich gefragt: Ist das eigentlich ein neues oder häufiges Phänomen? Normalerweise sollte man ja annehmen, dass deutsche Behördenleiter eher weniger die Aufmerksamkeit der Medien suchen. Im Weberschen Modell von Politik und Verwaltung ist ja nur die politische Spitze im Meinungskampf in der Öffentlichkeit aktiv, die Spitze der Verwaltung aber nicht.

Daher habe ich mir das mal genauer angeschaut, die Ergebnisse sind hier:

Wie ist das Verhältnis zwischen Spitzenbeamten und den Medien? Lange Jahre galt die Vermutung, dass deutsche Verwaltungseliten nur wenig in den Medien präsent sind; Repräsentation nach außen war Sache der politischen Spitze. Dieser Beitrag argumentiert, dass im Zuge der Politisierung der Verwaltung auch deutsche Spitzenbeamte häufiger in den Medien auftauchen. Anhand einer Analyse der Berichterstattung über sieben Bundesoberbehörden in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung zeigt der Beitrag, dass über die Zeit hinweg tatsächlich immer personalisierter berichtet wird. Dabei gibt es aber große Unterschiede zwischen den Behörden. Die Präsidenten des Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes und des Bundeskriminalamtes erscheinen eher selten in den Medien, die der Bundesnetzagentur und des Verfassungsschutzes relativ häufig. Außerdem bleibt noch ein Rest an zu erklärender Variation, der möglicherweise auf Karriereverläufe der Spitzenbeamten zurückgeführt werden kann.