Research projects (externally funded)

Research Project „The Authority of International Organizations and Institutional Overlap”

Global and regional international organizations (IOs) have become key players in international politics, facilitating cooperation in every corner of the world and with respect to almost any issue area, from economics to security, to immigration, to the environment. This ubiquity of IOs is reflected in the enormous growth in the post-World War II era of both their institutional authority and the institutional overlap between them, that is, the growing number of IOs with similar (but not necessarily identical) membership that are active in similar issue areas. For example, the World Bank, the United Nations and the recently established New Development Bank all seek to facilitate economic development. Even though these two developments have evolved concurrently and there are good reasons to believe that they are related, extant research examines them largely in isolation.

In this project, we propose to study this poorly understood phenomenon, addressing two specific questions: 1) what are the implications of differences in IO authority for institutional overlap? And 2) given conditions of institutional overlap, which IO characteristics lead to more or less authority? We bring to bear the complementary theoretical and methodological expertise of the two PIs to answer these questions with a three-pronged approach. First, we develop a coherent theoretical framework that links the dynamics of IO authority to the question of institutional overlap by extending a state-of-the-art theory of institutional change (Jupille et al. 2013). Second, we systematically map IO authority and overlap in 1) a sample of 76 global and regional IOs from 1950 to 2020 on a worldwide scale; and in 2) the two macro-regions with the highest density of institutional overlap, Africa and the Americas. Third, we evaluate our theoretical expectations in a mixed-methods research design that combines statistical analysis of existing and novel data, and two original in-depth case studies of institutional overlap in Africa. This multi-method approach will not only shed new light on the nexus of institutional authority and overlap, but will also produce new data that opens up new avenues for further research in this area and generate policy implications for the prospects of international cooperation and the nature of global governance.


Prof. Dr. Tobias Lenz

Mona Saleh

Duration: 01.11.2018 bis 31.10.2022


Research Project "Police, Politics, Polis - Dealing with Refugees in the City

The project "Polizei, Politik, Polis - Geflüchtete in der Stadt" (Police, Politics, Polis - Refugees in the City) follows on from the "local turn" in migration policy research, but aims to provide new insights from a different perspective and with the help of qualitative-interpretative methods. Using the example of the police, it examines the extent to which the thesis of a "local turn" holds water. The focus is on urban practices in connection with the admission of refugees, in which three aspects are mediated with each other:

  • The role of the local police as local state authority ("police"),
  • the relevance of urban political strategies in dealing with refugee issues ("politics"), and
  • the importance of municipal social actors, networks and discourses ("polis").

The project thus pursues the overarching question of in which way police action takes on a particular logic in urban space and is embedded in a local-specific, urban-political and civil-society context. In the course of the project, police perceptions of the challenges and possibilities for action as well as the security strategies that are pursued in six cities in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Lower Saxony will be developed. In a second step, these police perceptions and orientations for action will be embedded in the local contexts. Finally, it will be determined to what extent it is possible to speak of specific urban police ways of dealing with refugees and where their breaking points, conflicts and potentials may lie.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation. The project is based at three universities and is led by Prof. Dr. Michael Haus at the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Georgios Terizakis at the Hessian University of Police and Administration, and Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

At Leuphana, Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch and Leonie Jantzer are responsible for the research in the two cities in Lower Saxony. For this purpose, they conduct participatory observations of police activities, hold interviews and group discussions with police officers, actors from civil society and politics, and evaluate local reporting and police sources.

Responsible/Contact :

Professor Dr. Sybille Münch

Leonie Jantzer

Duration: 01.01.2021 till 31.12.2023



Joint research project "Integration through Trust. Access of Refugee Families to Early Education in Lower Saxony"

Joint research project "Integration through Trust. Access of Refugee Families to Early Education in Lower Saxony"

The interdisciplinary joint research project "Integration through Trust" investigates access of refugee families to early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Lower Saxony. From this perspective, the project has the following objectives:

  • To investigate how refugee parents of children aged 0-5 build trust in ECEC and which role (digital) media, social services and volunteers play as mediators
  • To develop further and continuing education modules, especially for qualified educational staff and volunteers who are involved in the access of refugee families to ECEC.

Thus, the project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the conditions of trustful access to ECEC in Lower Saxony and to promote such access. In terms of methodology, the project comprises a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, in particular interviews, participating observations and a written survey.

The project is financed by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony with funding from the "Niedersächsisches Vorab". It is located with the faculties of Education and of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leuphana University Lüneburg and is headed by Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, Prof. Dr. Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel, Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch and Dr. Onno Husen.

At the Center for the Study of Democracy (ZDEMO), Professor Dr. Sybille Münch and Anna Siede investigate the role of civil society in relation to the access of refugee families to ECEC. For this purpose, they conduct interviews with refugee parents, volunteers and representatives of selected communities.

More >>


Professor Dr. Sybille Münch

Anna Siede

Duration: 1.2.2019 – 31.01.2022


Career Profiles and Prime Ministerial Performance in Central and Eastern European Democracies

This project deals with prime ministers in the young democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that are member states of the European Union. More specifically, it seeks to explore a key question of comparative government research that has not been answered so far: in what way do career patterns of prime ministers in CEE countries affect their political performance? To answer this question in a systematic manner, the project is subdivided into three milestones that are to be reached in corresponding work modules.

The milestone of the first work module consists in a multidimensional conceptualization, systematic survey and comparative description of the political performance of prime ministers in CEE. To do so, the research group will create a systematic and detailed empirical record of prime ministerial performance in the eleven CEE countries between 1989/90 and 2017 that is based on secondary aggregate data and standardized expert judgments. This novel dataset will be a major contribution to the comparative study of political executives and should be frequently employed by future research in the field.

The main target of the second work module is a systematic survey and comparative description of the career patterns of prime ministers in the eleven countries under investigation. These profiles include sociodemographic characteristics as well as different indicators of political experience of individual office-holders between 1989/90 and 2017. This encompassing dataset and the respective mapping of prime ministers’ career profiles will bridge a major gap in the literature comparing political elites within and beyond CEE.

The final work module aims at a contextualized examination of the “individuals-do-matter” hypothesis that is most prominent in comparative political elite studies. More precisely, the project will systematically explore how the career profiles of CEE prime ministers affect their political performance. This cross-national and inter-temporal analysis is not confined to a bivariate relationship. Following the “interactionist approach” and “actor-centered institutionalism” that has been elaborated by the recent literature, we will argue that the career profiles of CEE prime ministers affect their political performance conditionally, i.e. depending on the institutional, party-system and socioeconomic context in which they operate. After a systematic survey of these contextual factors, relevant interactive hypotheses will be elaborated theoretically and examined empirically in multivariate analyses.

In sum, this project will substantially add to the extant literature in both empirical and theoretical perspective. Its results will be major contributions to the comparative study of governmental systems in CEE as well as to a fundamental question of political elite research.

Funding Agency: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
Funding Period: 01.02.2018-31.01.2020.

This is a joined project by Florian Grotz at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg and Ferdinand Müller-Rommel at the Leuphana University. More information.

Project management
Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel
Universitätsallee 1, C4.023a
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-2486

Jan Berz
Universitätsallee 1, C4.024
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-2477

Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation

Understanding how changes in interconnected social-ecological systems facilitate the transformation to sustainability represents one of the key challenges of sustainability science. Drawing on insights from systems thinking and solution-oriented transdisciplinary research, this project will focus on hitherto under-recognized leverage points—system properties where a small shift can lead to fundamental changes in the system as a whole. The project is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung, via the “Science for sustainable development” call, and is hosted by Leuphana University Lueneburg.

Ulli Vilsmaier
Daniel J. Lang
Jens Newig
Jörn Fischer
Thomas Schomerus
Henrik von Wehrden

- Financally supported by: Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur des Landes Niedersachsen aus Mitteln des Niedersächsischen VW-Vorab: 2.581.100,00 €

- Start: 2015, April
- End: 2019, March

CAPFLO - Local resilience capacity building for flood mitigation

Responsible: Prof.  Jens Newig

- Financally supported by: European Union: 131.583,00 €

- Start: 2016, January
- End: 2017, December

The Gender-Governance Link: Gender Equality and Public Goods Provisions

This project combines empirical perspectives in political science, gender studies, and economics to contribute to the emerging literature on the linkages between gender equality and good governance across the globe and over time. This literature has established strong linkages between various aspects of gender equality and good governance. To give just a few examples, nations’ levels of female education have been linked to economic growth, and the higher value citizens attach to gender equality has been linked to nations’ democratic accountability. However, while the literature on links between one aspect of gender equality and one aspect of good governance is growing, there is so far no integrated approach that takes a comprehensive look at the gender equality – good governance link. More

Responsible (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg): Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel

- Financally supported by theMinistry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

- Start: 2015
- End: 2016

MULTAGRI - Governance ländlicher Entwicklung durch Maßnahmen zur multifunktionalen Nutzung landwirtschaftlicher Flächen - TP 5: Governance-Herausforderungen bei der Förderung der landschaftsweiten Umsetzung geeigneter Management-M

Jens Newig
Jörn Fischer
Alexandra-Maria Klein

- Financally supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research: 299.569,20 €
(RURAGRI is an ERA-NET supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme)

- Start: 2013, August
- End: 2016, August

Modi nachhaltigkeitsbezogener Forschung im Vergleich (MONA): Forschungsmodi und ihr Einfluss auf wissenschaftliche und gesellschaftliche Projekterträge - Eine vergleichende Analyse von 100 Drittmittelprojekten nachhaltigkeitsbezog

[Translate to Englisch:] Seit etwa zwei Jahrzehnten werden unter Titeln wie 'post-normal science', 'new modes of knowledge production' oder 'Transdisziplinarität' vermehrt neue Modi wissenschaftlicher Forschung beschrieben. Deren Anspruch ist es, gesellschaftlich relevante Probleme zu bearbeiten, durch Partizipation von Nicht-Wissenschaftlern die gesellschaftliche Legitimation von Forschung zu erhöhen sowie 'gesellschaftlich robustes' Wissen zu erzeugen.

Jens Newig
Daniel J. Lang

- Financally supported by the German Research Foundation: 369.362,00 €

- Start: 2013, July 1
- End: 2016, June 30

EDGE - Evaluating the Delivery of participatory environmental Governance using an Evidence-based research design

Participation of citizens and stakeholders in environmental governance is widely believed to enhance environmental policy outcomes. This instrumental claim has, however, been challenged both on theoretical grounds and due to a lack of reliable evidence. Numerous single case studies are available, providing a rich, but scattered and yet un-tapped source of data. EDGE aims to drastically improve the state of scientific knowledge on whether and under what conditions participation actually improves policy delivery in environmental governance. Based on one coherent analytical framework, EDGE will use an evidence-based approach, combining secondary (meta-analysis of previously published case studies – case survey) with primary research (comparative case studies and field experimentation): 1. Case survey (case meta-analysis): Published case studies from Europe and North America will be reviewed and systematically compared, employing and further developing the case survey method. A sample of c.200 cases will be precisely coded based on a theoretical framework that provides context, process and outcome variables. Results will be analysed with probabilistic (statistical) and set-theoretic (QCA) methods. The case survey is a highly suitable, yet rarely employed comparative method for rigorous aggregation of case based knowledge. It draws on the richness of the case material while allowing for much wider generalisation than can single cases. EDGE will conduct the hitherto largest and most rigorous case survey in governance research. Primary research will be conducted in the area of water governance as a key area of environmental governance in which participation is explicitly encouraged. The implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (Was-serrahmenrichtlinie) (WFD) of 2000 and of the EU Floods Directive (Hochwasserrisikomanagement-Richtlinie) of 2007 provides a unique opportunity to assess completed governance processes and their outcomes (2001–2009) as well as upcoming governance processes (2013–2015), the latter via field experimentation. 2. Comparative case studies: A sample of around two dozen cases of regional WFD implementation (production of River Basin Management Plans and Programmes of Measures as well as the implementation of measures) in selected European countries will be studied, applying the same analytical scheme as used in the case survey. 3. Field experimentation: In close collaboration with water managers, another set of cases of regional implementation of the EU Floods Directive will be subject to random selection of more or less participatory procedures. EDGE will thus perform one of the first field experiments in governance research. Given the instrumental rationale for participatory governance, this subject lends itself outstandingly to be tested with randomized field experimentation. Random selection of (non-) participatory methods will considerably reduce biases and thus allow for a significantly better evaluation of environmental outcomes. Field experimentation represents a highly promising, yet controversial and in practice challenging approach. The combination of case survey, comparative case studies and field experimentation will give the unique opportunity to stringently compare and assess these innovative methods of social enquiry under a single analytical framework. In doing so, EDGE will achieve a breakthrough in assessing what works (and does not work) in environmental governance. Methodologically, the project will explore pathways to robust, experimental-based research that clearly head into the yet unchartered territory of governance research.

Jens Newig
Ed Challies

Financally supported by: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant 9000.000,00 €

Start: 2011, April
End: 2016, March

Value Orientations and Cooperation

This project under the Direction of Prof. Christian Welzel and Prof. Christian Thöni (University of St. Gallen) analyzes the link between individuals’ value orientations and their willingness to cooperate with others. Involving the conduct of 2,000 face-to-face interviews, it takes place within the framework of the sixth round of the World Values Survey. More

-Financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and Swiss National Science Foundation (SNCF): 560,000 €

- Start: 2013
- End: 2015

Public Participation and Climate Change Adaptation in Federal Systems

The research project A-CLIM (Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Development in Lower Saxony) examines a multi-year participation process in Lower Saxony. A-CLIM is part of KLIFF (Climate Impact and Adaptation Research in Lower Saxony) – a cooperative research initiative of 21 universities and research facilities. More

Responsible: Prof. Dr. Thomas Saretzki


- Financially supported by Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

- Start: 2012, October
- End: 2014, September

Political culture and political development

In cooperation with the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), University of California, Irvine (USA), this project conceptualizes a key transformation in the civic culture and civil society of postindustrial societies: the transition from a traditional model of “allegiant democratic citizens” to a new model of “assertive democratic citizens.” . More

Responsible: Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel

- Funded by: Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung und CSD, Irvine

- Start: 2009
- End: 2010

Strategic control in party-government-systems

Developing a concept of strategic management in the context of party-government-systems and its empirical application to a comparative study of strategic government control in Great Britain and Germany.

Responsible: Dr.Ralf Tils

-Financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

- Start: 2006, April
- End: 2009, March

Modernization of public administration – Lower Saxony

Empirical investigation on the impact of the abolition of opposition proceedings in Lower Saxony (2005-2009).

Responsible: Dr. Holger Meyer, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel

- Financially supported by the Ministry of Interior of Niedersachsen

- Start: 2006, October
- End: 2008, December

Model County Law – Lower Saxony

Accompanying Research on the Model County Law of Lower Saxony (Modelkommunengesetz) (analysis of acceptance and effects)
Intermediate report [PDF] (in German)

Responsible: Dr. Holger Meyer, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel

-Financially supported by the state chancellery Niedersachsen

- Start: 2006, January
- End: 2008, December

Patterns of democracy and capacity of political systems in Central and Eastern Europe

Quantitative-empirical comparison of the economic, ecological and social performance of 10 CEE countries, in cooperation with the University of Greifswald, Prof. Dr. Detlef Jahn.

Responsible: Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Prof. Dr. Detlef Jahn (Universität Greifswald)

 -Financially supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

- Start: 2004, January
- End: 2007, December

Ministerial Recruitment and Career Patterns in Central Eastern Europe

Compiling a dataset about the socio-structural background variables and the career patterns of over 1200 Ministers in ten CEE countries.

Responsible: Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel

-Financially supported (partly) by the European Science Foundation (ESF),  EURELITE Project

- Start: 2002, November
 - End: 2007, December

Governing in New Democracies

Interviews with ca. 380 former ministers (1990-2000) in ten CEE countries.

- Financially supported (in part) by the World Bank

- Start: 2002, November
- End:  2006, December

Publication: Jean Blondel, Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Darina Malova et. al.,
Governing New European Democracies (London: MacMillan / Palgrave, 2007).


CEEMinisterdataneu [SAV]
MinisterQuestionnaire [PDF]
Ministercodebook [PDF]

East-West Network of Competence Celle - Lüneburg

Coordination of activities by different actors with East-West-competence
in the government district of Lüneburg. What does ‘East-West’ mean here?!?!

- Financially supported by EU regional fund (EFRE) as well as the Ministry of Economics of Niedersachsen

- Start: 2003, October
 -End: 2005, December