I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Government, Cornell University working on political behavior and public opinion.
In my research I look at questions of immigration and immigrant inclusion and incorporation in different western democracies and electoral systems. I am particularly interested in sub-national variations of voting and political participation by taking regional and local context into account for individual behavior and perceptions. My main cases in my research are the US, Germany, and Austria. I also work on Spain, Canada, and New Zealand in other projects.
In my dissertation titled “The Migrant Turnout Gap – External Effects of Citizenship Regimes and Social Context on Political Participation”, I research why immigrant-origin citizens participate less in formal politics compared to autochthonous citizens – in particular in countries with restrictive citizenship-regimes. I argue that restrictive citizenship policies create strong negative externalities for political participation of immigrant-origin citizens. Immigrant-origin citizens in enclaves with many non-citizens perceive ineligibility for formal politics like voting as the norm among their peers. The same is not true for autochthonous citizens. Also, immigrant-origin citizens do not show the same voting gap in areas with very few non-citizens. I use a multi-method approach combining localized public-opinion and panel data, archival and census data, and semi-structured qualitative interviews to test my hypothesis. My main cases are Germany and Austria as cases of restrictive citizenship regimes. I also quantitatively test my argument using 16 European countries. The findings help us understand how disenfranchised non-citizens can have negative effects on and raises questions of. In particular in countries like Germany and Austria with very restrictive citizenship and naturalization regimes, this raises questions concerning passive voter suppression and, ultimately, of democratic legitimacy of their polity.
In addition to my dissertation, I explore why naturalization and citizenship regimes differ substantially across western democracies in the first place. I focus on how changes in public opinion and public policy mood can lead to immigration and citizenship policy changes. I argue that the public’s perception of who should belong to the “Nation” has a major impact on how and if politicians reform citizenship and immigration regimes. A more inclusive and liberal view of the public opens windows of opportunity for politicians seeking to liberalizing citizenship. I built a data set containing > 1 Mio respondents across 26 European countries spanning from 1950-2020 which included questions about citizenship, ethnic minorities, and/or migration. In a second step, I adapt Stimsons (2020) policy-mood measure to combine all these different question to form what I call “Migration Mood” of each country. I then show how Migration Mood matches changes in citizenship policies. To test the mechanism, I rely on archival files and elite-interviews from Germany and Austria. This research lies at the intersection of institutional change, political accountability, and policy-analysis. It shows how citizens themselves not only impact but also are indirectly responsible for exclusionary policies and regressive citizenship regimes.
Between October 2019 and October 2020, I was a visiting researcher with the chair for Political Sociology at Freie University Berlin. From May 2021 until August 2021, I have been an “Ernst-Mach-Stipendium” scholar at the University of Vienna. My research is supported by the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies of GSA at FU Berlin, the EUROLAB at GESIS, the Center for European Studies, Cornell, the Mercatus Center, and the Flournoy Graduate Student Endowed Fellowship.
I have been quoted and cited in several American and international media outlets: The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Le Figaro (France), Infobae (Argentina), Marktforschung.de (Germany), and others.
I completed my Master’s in Political Science focusing on Policy Analysis at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. I have held research assistant positions at the Government Department at Cornell University, the Institute for Political Science Heidelberg, the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). During my work as a Bluebook Trainee at DG Research & Innovation at the European Commission in Brussels, I was responsible for the international cooperation in Research & Innovation with the Western Balkan countries & Turkey at DG RTD.