Research (english)

german version

Research Interests

  • Comparative public policy
  • Europeanization
  • Policy analysis
  • Methods in political science
  • Politics and technology
  • Politics and religion
  • Network analysis


Public participation in German grid expansion policies

Since 2014, I work with Eva Ruffing on a project analyzing public participation in German electricity grid expansion policies. Germany has introduced wide-ranging citizen participation rights in many of the policies governing the „Energiewende“, and we would like to find out why the German government did this, how citizens are actually using these participation rights, and what difference it makes for energy policies.


Fink, S., & Ruffing, E. (2018). Why do bureaucrats consider public consultation statements (or not)? Information processing in public organizations. In T. Bach & K. Wegrich (Eds.), The blind spots of public bureaucracy ad the politics of non-coordination (pp. 217-238). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fink, S., & Ruffing, E. (2017). The differentiated implementation of European participation rules in energy infrastructure planning. Why does the German participation regime exceed European requirements? European Policy Analysis, 3(2), 274-294. (Abstract)

Fink, S., & Koch, F. J. (2016). Agiert die Bundesnetzagentur beim Netzausbau als Agent oder als Treuhänder? dms – der moderne staat, 9(2), 277-288. (Abstract)

Fink, S., & Ruffing, E. (2015). Legitimation durch Verwaltungsverfahren? Was sich die Politik von Konsultationen beim Stromnetzausbau verspricht. dms – der moderne staat, 8(2), 253-272. (Abstract)

Fink, S., & Ruffing, E. (2015). Consultations in energy policy – Effective instrument of citizen participation or „myth and ceremony“? . Paper presented at the Paper for the 65th Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association, 30th March-1st April 2015, Sheffield. (Fulltext)

(an updated version was presented at the ICPP conference in Milan, see here).


EU simulations as teaching and research tools

Following my work with Eurosoc, I try to elucidate some generalizable findings from my extensive experience with EU simulations.


Fink, S. (2015). 36 different chocolate directives. How does the setting influence negotiation outcomes and dynamics in an EU simulation? European Political Science, 14(3), 241-253.

See also my guest contribution for the active learning in political science blog.


Regional Integration outside of Europe

Since 2009, I´m a member of the research group „Regional Integration outside of Europe“. My contribution to the group is the application of network analysis methods to elucidate interdependence patterns in the world regions studied by the group.


Fink, S., & Rempe, D. (2017). Trade Network Analyses. In S. Krapohl (Ed.), Regional Integration in the Global South. External Influence on Economic Cooperation in ASEAN, MERCOSUR and SADC (pp. 91-111). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Krapohl, S., & Fink, S. (2013). Different Paths of Regional Integration: Trade Networks and Regional Institution-Building in Europe, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. Journal of Common Market Studies, 51(3), 472-488.


Fink, Simon (2010): Preparing diachronic trade network data with Stata. Research Note. (Full Text)

Fink, Simon / Krapohl, Sebastian (2010): Assessing the Impact of Regional Integration: Do regional trade institutions shape global trade patterns? (Paper prepared for the ECPR Joint Sessions 2010)


The Diffusion of Privatization

In my postdoc-project at the graduate school „Markets and Social Systems in Europe“, University of Bamberg, I return to some open questions of the last privatization project (see below), but with a new theoretical and methodological perspective. The rapid spread of privatization policies suggests that diffusion mechanisms were driving the process. However, which diffusion mechanisms in particular – emulation, learning, competition – are driving the process is still an open question. I try to answer the question using quantitative diffusion models, and testing diffusion hypotheses against alternative hypotheses. Furthermore, I try to advance diffusion theory by taking into account national factors that interact with diffusion pressures.


Fink, S. (2017). Varieties of capitalism and privatization in a globalized world. How trade integration shapes the relation between type of capitalism and privatization. Comparative European Politics, forthcoming.  (Abstract) (data)

Fink, S. (2013). Policy Convergence with or without the European Union: The Interaction of Policy Success, EU Membership and Policy Convergence. Journal of Common Market Studies, 51(4), 631-648. (Abstract)

Fink, S. (2013). When I find myself in times of trouble…The conditional effect of international organizations on policy convergence. European Journal of Political Research, 52(5), 630-659. (early view) (replication data)

Fink, S. (2011). Der Einfluss von Spielarten des Kapitalismus auf Privatisierungspolitik. Ein quantitativer Test. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 5(2), 277-301. (Abstract)

Fink, S. (2011). A contagious Concept: Explaining the Spread of Privatization in the Telecommunications Sector. Governance, 24(1), 111-139. (Abstract)

Fink, S. (2009). How long does it take to make policies? Uncovering assumptions about the policy process in diffusion models. Paper präsentiert auf der Tagung “Institutionen und Prozesse in vergleichender Perspektive” der DVPW-Sektion Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft in Darmstadt vom 22.-24.01.2009.  (Full Text)

Fink, S. (2008). What policy diffusion research can learn from social network analysis (and vice versa). Paper presented at the Networks in Political Science (NIPS) Conference, Center for Networked Governance, Harvard University. (Volltext)



Politics, Religion, and Technology in the 21st century

In this current project, I work on some questions that were raised in the context of the embryo research policies project. All the questions arise at the intersections of politics, religion, and technology. What is the relationship between these three social spheres in the 21st century? How can political science conceptualize the interactions between organized religion, politics and the development of ethically contentious technologies? Is there really a trade-off between ethical standards and innovativeness?


Fink, S. (2012). An den Grenzen der Konkordanz? Die Bilanz von Konkordanzdemokratien in der Biopolitik. In S. Köppl & U. Kranenpohl (Eds.), Konkordanzdemokratie: Ein Demokratietyp der Vergangenheit? (pp. 319-335). Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Fink, S. (2012). A Paradigm Change in Innovation Policies? Assessing the Causes and Consequences of Embryo Research Laws. In J. M. Bauer, A. Lang & V. Schneider (Eds.), Innovation Policy and Governance in High-Tech Industries (pp. 261-286). Berlin: Springer.

Fink, S. (2007). Ethics vs. Innovation? The Impact of Embryo Research Laws on the Innovative Ability of National Economies. STI Studies, 3(2). (Abstract) (Full text)

Fink, S. (2009). Churches as Societal Veto Players: Religious Influence in Actor-Centered Theories of Policy Making. West European Politics, 32(1), 77-96.  (Abstract)


Embryo Research Policies in Comparative Perspective

The governance of human embryo research is a contested issue. Economic interests clash with major ethical concerns. Nevertheless – or rather: therefore – political systems have to devise collectively binding decisions how to use or not to use the human embryo for research purposes. The project´s main aim was to discern the major determinants of these decisions. Hypotheses included the role of national institutional arrangements, partisan politics, economic interests or religious factors. These hypotheses were tested using a dataset measuring the strictness of embryo research regulations in 21 OECD countries in the last 25 years. The main result is that religion still matters, and that we are not witnessing a „race to the bottom“ of ethical standards in embryo research policies.


Fink, S. (2008). Forschungspolitik zwischen Innovation und Lebensschutz. Die Determinanten von Embryonenforschungspolitiken im internationalen Vergleich. Baden-Baden: Nomos.(Reihe Staatslehre und politische Verwaltung). (Abstract)

Fink, S. (2008). Politics as usual or bringing Religion back In? The Influence of Parties, Institutions, Economic Interests and Religion on Embryo Research Laws. Comparative Political Studies, 41(12), 1631-1656. (Abstract)

Fink, S. (2007). Ein deutscher Sonderweg? Die deutsche Embryonenforschungspolitik im Licht international vergleichender Daten. Leviathan, 1/2007, 107-128. (Abstract) (Volltext)



Globalization, Europeanization and the Re-Dimensionalization of the State: the Privatization of Infrastructures

I worked in this project as a research assistant at the chair of empirical theory of the state, University of Konstanz. The project´s aim was to explain the different paths countries took in the privatization of infrastructure sectors. Using an extensive dataset, covering 30 years of privatization in the OECD countries, we found out, that partisan preferences may explain the onset of privatization. However, in the 1990s, the pressure of financial markets (whether true or perceived pressure) induced all governments to privatize.


Schneider, V., Fink, S., & Tenbücken, M. (2005). Buying out the state: a comparative perspective on privatization in infrastructures. Comparative Political Studies, 38(6), 704-727. (Abstract)

Schneider, V., & Fink, S. (2004). Die Determinanten nationaler Privatisierungspfade: Parteipolitik, Globalisierungsdruck und institutionelle Rahmenbedingungen. In V. Schneider & M. Tenbücken (Eds.), Der Staat auf dem Rückzug: Die Privatisierung öffentlicher Infrastrukturen (pp. 209-240). Frankfurt/M.: Campus.

Ehni, C., Fink, S., Jäger, A., & Thiem, J. (2004). Privatisierungsverläufe in drei Infrastruktursektoren im internationalen Vergleich. In V. Schneider & M. Tenbücken (Eds.), Der Staat auf dem Rückzug: Die Privatisierung öffentlicher Infrastrukturen. (pp. 115-153). Frankfurt/M: Campus.



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