ECPR General Conference
Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
22 - 25 August 2018

Advances in Analytical Politics and Public Choice

Public Choice
Decision Making
Section Number
Section Chair
Sebastian Koehler
Universität Konstanz
Section Co-Chair
Patrícia Calca
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL


Analytical Politics and Public Choice provide a distinct methodological approach to the study of diverse political phenomena by empirically testing hypotheses which were derived from public choice theory. A strong focus of the approach is on the strategic interaction of rational decision-makers. This Section will contain Panels on recent advances in analytical politics and public choice. They cover a range of topics concerning the political process and reflect the methodological approach. Topics include, but are not restricted to, simulations and experiments as tests of formal models, strategic interactions in multilevel systems, electoral rules and their effects on intra-party cohesion and polarization, strategic choices within coalition formation, voter behaviour and incentives for party competition, interest group activities or strategic legislative decision-making. The Section will provide space for both theoretical and empirical contributions.


One of the major strengths of Analytical Politics and Public Choice is the coherent methodological approach. It works by combining the deduction of hypotheses from stringent theoretical models with the empirical testing of said hypotheses. This approach has been used to successfully study diverse phenomena in Political Science. We propose a Section which helps to reflect on recent advances in the way in which the methodology of Analytical Politics and Public Choice is used to study political processes. We seek to include Panels on different aspects of the political process to reflect the richness of the public choice approach as a tool for understanding politics. We thereby seek both theoretical and empirical contributions.

The first Panel will be a Panel on experiments and simulations in public choice. From the beginning, experiments have played a major role in the testing of predictions derived from formal models. More recently, simulation studies have been used to derive predictions from formal models. The Panel will explore recent advances in the intersection of the two approaches. The Panel will be chaired by Eric Linhardt (University of Chemnitz).

One of the main contributions of Public Choice has been the enhancement of our understanding of strategic interaction in multilevel systems, such as federal systems or the EU. The second Panel will discuss recent advances in the study of strategic interaction in policy-making in multilevel systems. It will be chaired by Tanja Dannwolf (University of Kaiserslautern).

The third Panel will be on formal models of electoral rules and their effects on intra-party cohesion and polarization. The focus of the Panel is on recent advances in theory, thereby acknowledging the fact that the study of electoral institutions and their effect is an increasingly dynamic field in Public Choice. It will be chaired by Konstantinos Matakos (King's College London).

The theme of the fourth Panel is government formation. The main focus is questions how the tension between party competition and intra-party politics affects the strategic choices of potential coalition partners whether to join a coalition. The study of government formation is a more recent subfield in the public choice literature. Marc Debus (University of Mannheim) will chair the Panel.

The fifth Panel will be on recent advances in the study of the nexus between voter behaviour and party competition. This has been a central theme in public choice. The Panel will discuss methodological and theoretical advances in the study of voter behaviour in a public choice perspective. Susumu Shikano (University of Konstanz) will chair the Panel.

The sixth Panel will be on formal models of lobbying. The study of lobbying has been a cornerstone in the public choice approach. The main focus is on theoretical approaches interest group activities in a strategic perspective, i.e., we seek to analyze the incentives for and effects of specific lobbying tactics. The Panel will be chaired by Sebastian Koehler (University of Konstanz).

The seventh Panel is on strategic legislative decision-making. Its major focus is on the strategic interactions between institutional actors within the legislative framework of the state, i.e. governments, parliaments, regional assemblies, presidents, among others. The Panel will welcome both theoretical and empirical approaches. It will be chaired by Patricia Calca (ISCTE-IUL Lisbon).

Sebastian Koehler studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Mannheim, where he also obtained a PhD in Political Science in 2014. Afterwards he joined the London School of Economics and Political Science to work as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Government Department. Currently, he works as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Data and Methods of the University of Konstanz. He also serves as the Convenor of the Standing Group on Analytical Politics and Public Choice. His research interests include political decision-making and lobbying in a public choice perspective with a strong emphasis on combining theory and empirical work.

Patrícia Calca is a political scientist and currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow (CIES-ISCTE / University of Mannheim) and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Konstanz. Previously she worked in several other institutions like the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (Germany), the University of Mannheim (Germany), the Open University (Portugal), the Lisbon University Institute, CIES (Portugal) and the University of Évora, CISA-AS (Portugal). Patrícia was a Research Visiting Scholar at the New York University (US), at the University of Mannheim (Germany) and the University of Barcelona (Spain) and is an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History – New University of Lisbon (Portugal). Her research is inter-disciplinary and centers on political institutions; comparative politics and comparative political economy; EU; legislative behaviour and decision-making (governments, parliaments, and parties); public policy analysis; political accountability/responsiveness and corruption.

Panel List

P016Analyzing Legislative Politics in Multilevel Settings: New Challenges View Panel Details
P157Experiments and Simulations in Political Science View Panel Details
P239Intra-party politics, government formation and coalition governance View Panel Details
P283New Developments in Spatial Models of Party Competition View Panel Details
P528Electoral Institutions, Incentives and Party Structure View Panel Details
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