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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS)

Alexander Horn

Alexander Horn
BGSS Alumni 2010
ahorn (at) ps.au.dk

BGSS Membership

2010 - 2014


Current Occupation

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University, Denmark


Dissertation Title

Does Ideology still matter? The Impact of Cabinet Ideology on Unemployment Insurance Retrenchment in OECD-Countries, 1971-2009



Since the 1980’s, a re-privatisation of labour market related risks has occurred throughout the OECD. In particular, governments have cut the generosity of unemployment insurance entitlements and tightened eligibility rules. In my doctoral project, I seek to find out whether and how these cutbacks are linked to cabinet ideology. Are governments, irrespective of the positions they hold, squeezed by fiscal, economic and electoral pressures?  Existing studies devoted to this fiercely contested question conceive of government ideology in terms of representation of (fixed) group interests, often measured via static left-right labels which do not take programmatic changes of parties into account; and attribute a quasi-objective status to the (economic) pressures which allegedly paralyze party politics. The project aims to address this "Independent Variable Problem" and complement the dominant yet constricted approach by discussing and applying two strategies. The first strategy is to employ time-variant left-right scales based on party manifestos. The second strategy is to overcome the conceptual confusion caused by the multi-dimensional nature of both the static and the time-variant left-right ascriptions and focus on those aspects of the ideological complexion of government, which are theoretically meaningful for social policy decisions vis à vis external and internal pressures. More precisely, drawing on the literature on ideology, economic ideas, policy paradigms and frames, it is argued that “welfare ideology” and “market ideology”, as expressed in party manifestos, understood as causal and normative belief systems, serve as welfare-specific cognitive frames, which shape the problem perception and the social policy reactions of governments. The analysis is based on a new data set on changes in the generosity and conditionality of social insurance entitlements for more than 200 cabinets in 18 affluent democracies between 1971 and 2009 and consists of a comprehensive statistical investigation (including regression- and interaction analysis), supplemented by illustrative case studies (process tracing).



Prof. Ellen Immergut, PhD

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels


Research Interests

Comparative Politics, Welfare State Change, Political Economy, Party Politics, Ideology


Publications and Conference Participation

Horn, Alexander. 2013. Review of Political Parties and Democratic Linkage: How Parties Organize Democracy by Russell J. Dalton, David M. Farrell, and Ian McAllister. Berlin Reviews in Social Sciences, Review No. 6.

22nd World Congress of Political Science (IPSA), Madrid, 2012, Panel “Towards a New Role of the Welfare State?: Between the Rule Maker and the Rule Taker”, presented paper “Beyond Left and Right? The Effect of Market Ideology and Welfare Ideology on the Politics of Risk Privatization in the OECD”

EPSA 2nd Annual Conference, Berlin, 2012, Panel “Public Opinion and Risk”, presented paper “Beyond Left and Right? The Effect of Market Ideology and Welfare Ideology on the Politics of Risk Privatization in the OECD”

6th ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik, 2011, Section “The Politics of Retrenchment and Welfare State Policy – Revisiting Theory, Evaluating Evidence “, Panel “Partisan Politics in a Globalised Economy”, presented paper “Same Challenges, Different Responses? How Economic Worldviews shape Social Policy Responses to Globalization and Postindustrialization”

Workshop on Political Parties, Issue Competition and Public Policy, Sciences-Po Paris, 2011, presented paper “The Effect of Cabinet-Ideology on Welfare State Retrenchment in 18 OECD Countries. How Disaggregation can solve the “Independent Variable Problem” in the Study of Partisan Influence”


Academic Education


10/2010 - 07/2014

PhD candidate at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Scholarship: Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments and the German Research Association (DFG)

08/2012  –  12/2012

Duke University, USA, Political Science Doctoral Program, passed with high distinction, R. Taylor Cole Fellowship


ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques: Time Series Analysis; Ljubljana, Slovenia


ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques: Multiple Regression Analysis; Ljubljana, Slovenia

08/2007 – 06/2008

University of Gothenburg, Sweden, graduate courses with a special focus on Comparative Politics, pass with distinction (Väl godkänd/VG)

10/2004 – 10/2010

University of Greifswald, Germany, Magister of Arts (1,1), major: Political Science, 1st minor: Communication, 2nd minor: Modern History


Research and Teaching Experience

04/2009 – 07/2009

Tutor for the lecture “Introduction to Statistics” and SPSS, University of Greifswald, Germany

03/2009 – 06/2010

Student Research Assistant, DFG-Project “Welfare in the enlarged Europe”, conducted by Prof. Dr. Deltef Jahn (chair for Comparative Politics), University of Greifswald, Germany

11/2006 – 07/2007

Student Research Assistant, DFG Project „Pollution as a Global Phenomenon“, conducted by Prof. Dr. Detlef Jahn (chair for Comparative Politics), University of Greifswald, Germany

10/2005 – 01/2006

Tutor for the lecture “Methods of Political Science”, University of Greifswald, Germany


Work Experience and Projects

09/2011 - 07/2012

Preparation of the Berlin Summer School 2012, “Linking Theory and Empirical Research”,  panel on “Welfare and Social Inequality”

06/2008 – 09/2008

Internship Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin

02/2007 – 04/2007

Internship TNS Infratest Bielefeld, Market and Opinion Research

03/2006 – 04/2006

National Model United Nations 2006, New York, delegate in ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)


Language Skills

German (native)

English (fluent)

French (working knowledge)

Latin (basic)

Swedish (basic)