Group photo DD
David Ausserhofer
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The department investigates how institutions and political actors interact in a democracy - and how efficiently established and young democracies are when it comes to solving economic and social problems. The theoretical framework is embedded democracy - a concept in which democracies are kept intact by systems of government with interlocking partial regimes: an electoral regime, political liberties, civil rights, horizontal accountability and an effective power to govern.

This approach provides a comprehensive analysis of these partial regimes, in relation both to each other and to external challenges to democracy. Researchers focus on the diagnosis of the challenges to democracy, the comparative analysis of institutional systems, such as government or electoral systems, and the comparative study of important political actors such as parliament, administration or jurisdiction.


Ekpenyong Ani
Fon: +49 30 25491-313
ekpenyong.ani [at]

Roxanne Bibra
Fon: +49 30 25491-118
roxanne.bibra [at]

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin
Zusammenhang polit. Versiertheit

Reinhold Melcher

Der Zusammenhang zwischen politischer Versiertheit und Wahlentscheidungsqualität

Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2021
ISBN 978-3-658-35480-0

Wahlen und Wähler_Weßels_Schoen_2021

Bernhard Weßels and Harald Schoen (eds.)

Wahlen und Wähler. Analysen aus Anlass der Bundestagswahl 2017

Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2021
ISBN 978-3-658-33581-6 


Democracy and Democratization

On our blog we present research results and look at current events from the perspective of political science.

Blog posts appear with erratic regularity. Your comments are welcome. Enjoy!

Recent post:
Making the Absent Present
by Thamy Pogrebinschi and Iná Chaves
Thesis F. Beck_1

Frederik Beck

Im Namen des Marktes? Macht und demokratische Legitimität in der deutschen Finanzmarktpolitik

Frankfurt/M.: Campus Verlag 2021
ISBN 9783593513621

Cover Kneip_Merkel_Wessels

Sascha Kneip, Wolfgang Merkel and Bernhard Weßels (eds.)

Legitimitätsprobleme: Zur Lage der Demokratie in Deutschland

Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 2020
ISBN 978-3-658-29557-8

WZB Democracy Podcast

A series on current developments in research on democracy and regimes.

Ilyas Saliba invites scientists to discuss their research outcomes. The podcast gives insight into research on democracy, parties, elections, authoritarian regimes, and political transition.

Recent episode:
How COVID-19 affects Academic Freedom
with Ilyas Saliba

Wolfgang Schroeder / Bernhard Weßels (eds.)

Smarte Spalter. Die AfD zwischen Bewegung und Parlament

Dietz Verlag 2019

ISBN 978-3-8012-0552-2


Pieter de Wilde, Ruud Koopmans, Wolfgang Merkel, Oliver Strijbis, Michael Zürn (eds.)

The Struggle Over Borders. Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism

Cambridge University Press 2019

ISBN: 978-1-108-65269-8


Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, Hans-Jürgen Wagener (eds.)

Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Oxford University Press 2019

ISBN: 978-0-198-82991-1

Cover Democracy and Crisis

Wolfgang Merkel and Sascha Kneip (eds.)

Democracy and Crisis. Challenges in Turbulent Times

Cham: Springer International Publishing 2018
ISBN: 978-3-319-72559-8

Cover Voters and Voting in Context

Harald Schoen, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels, and Christof Wolf (eds.)

Voters and Voting in Context
Multiple Contexts and the Heterogeneous German Electorate

Oxford: Oxford University Press 2017
ISBN: 978-0-19-879213-0

Cover Demokratie, Diktatur, Gerechtigkeit

Aurel Croissant, Sascha Kneip, and Alexander Petring (eds.)

Demokratie, Diktatur, Gerechtigkeit. Festschrift für Wolfgang Merkel

Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2017
ISBN: 978-3-658-16089-0

Cover Legitimität direkter Demokratie

Wolfgang Merkel and Claudia Ritzi (eds.)

Die Legitimität direkter Demokratie. Wie demokratisch sind Volksabstimmungen?

Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2017
ISBN 978-3-658-16232-0

Cover Handbuch Arbeitgeber- und Wirtschaftsverbände

Wolfgang Schroeder and Bernhard Weßels (eds.)

Handbuch Arbeitgeber- und Wirtschaftsverbände in Deutschland

2nd, completely revised edition.
Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2016
ISBN 978-3-658-08175-1