Research area Comparative Politics and Empirical Democracy Research

The Chair for Comparative Politics and Empirical Democracy Research held by Prof. Dr. Lucas Leemann studies the performance of democratic political systems in a comparative perspective and also develops computational methods and statistical software to accurately measure public opinion.

 The research group’s substantive focus is on democratic practices and how democratic representation unfolds. We seek to understand how political systems differ in their ability to aggregate individual preferences and map these onto policies. We analyze how political identities, for instance partisanship or broader political identification and institutions, such as electoral rules or direct democratic institutions, affect the quality of representation and outcomes like policy congruence or satisfaction with democracy. We study how the presence or absence of specific political institutions affects the behavior of governments, legislators, political parties, social groups, and voters, and how this eventually affects policies and leads to different political outcomes.

 The research group also has a strong focus on harnessing new statistical methods to estimate public opinion and measure voter preferences using survey data and other forms of data. We use machine learning and data science tools to develop new methods, refine existing ones, and make them available as open-source statistical software. Our recently developed methods include a strategic selection estimator (StratSel), multilevel regression with synthetic post-stratification (MrsP), and improved multilevel regression with post-stratification through machine learning (autoMrP).