Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - DYNAMICS

Research Agenda

Western societies are challenged by massive demographic changes. Migration, population aging as well as changing family patterns are reconfiguring the lines of conflict. First, they contribute to changing societal needs and problem pressures in policy areas such as health, pension and education policy. Second, they reconfigure the political landscape by introducing new lines of conflict and thus changing the relationship between voters, political parties, interest groups and governments. DYNAMICS systematically studies the relationship between demographic change, democratic processes and public policy in order to shed much needed light on how the dramatic demographic shifts transform the existing political order and the established patterns of political competition.

In order to study these important questions, DYNAMICS provides PhD students with a unique and internationally competitive curriculum in cutting-edge quantitative methods and advanced theories of demography, democracy and public policy taught and supervised by leading experts from Political Science, Demography and Public Policy. DYNAMICS fosters interdisciplinary exchange to enable PhD students to conduct innovative research that sheds much needed light on how demographic shifts affect and interact with democratic processes and public policy.



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Our research programme is divided into three pillars: First, we investigate how demographic changes affect democratic processes, most notably preference formation, voting behaviour and government responsiveness and how political institutions moderate these effects. Second, we study how public policy decisions targeting demographic shifts are actually made and how interest groups, institutional and partisan veto players, and international developments affect policy reactions to demographic changes. Third, we examine how public policies in turn affect demographic behaviour by studying the effect of public policies on family and employment behaviour, old age poverty, old age care, retirement behaviour as well as the societal integration of migrants.