Research Projects

European Constitutional Court Network

Funding by the Austrian Academy of Science Go! Digital Next Generation Program

Constitutions contain the most important rules of our political systems and Constitutional Courts are the most powerful judicial institutions of European states. They are the guardians of the Constitutions and ensure, for instance, the respect for fundamental rights. Since the 20th century their importance is ever growing, which attracted a lot of interest from academia and beyond. Yet, despite numerous investigations, we know little about how different Constitutional Courts refer to each other. With the ECCN project, we want to tackle this research gap (Lookup our great team here We use quantitative text analysis and network analysis to understand the extent to which European Constitutional Courts rely on judgements from other European Constitutional Courts.

Book Projects

Cross-Citations between European Constitutional Courts: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis (edited volume together with Lando Kirchmair; under review)


’Was heißt und zu welchem Ende betreibt man juristische Netzwerkanalyse? Eine neue Methode in der Verfassungsrechtsvergleichung’ (2020), in Zeitschrift für öffentliches Rechnt, 4: 857-884. (with Lando Kirchmair and Isabel Staudinger)

Working Papers

’Selbst- und Fremdzitate des Verfassungsgerichtshofs: Eine quantitative Analyse zur Identifikation von Leitentscheidungen’ (with Lando Kirchmair; revise and resubmit)

Policy-diffusion across international institutions: A text-network approach

Funding by the University of Innsbruck

The preferential trade agreement between Canada and Peru includes a section on the Tariff schedule of Colombia (Allee and Elsig, 2019). This is a remarkable aspect of the agreement as Colombia is not a member in the respective trade agreement. As it turned out, the legal text pertaining to Colombia in the Canada Peru agreement was a result of sloppy copy-pasting between treaties. Legal texts are frequently reused and copied from one international treaty to another. Sometimes these texts are copied word for word, and in other cases, the text gets slightly reformulated. There are even cases where these treaties are then translated across multiple languages. Even though this seems to be a widespread phenomena, we know little about the underlying mechanisms of such behavior in the context of international agreements. This might be due to unsolved theoretical, and equally crucial, methodological challenges in the diffusion literature. While there are thousands of academic publications on diffusion, hardly any paper deals with the policy spread across international institutions. Consequently, through this research project, I aim to tackle this academic void.

Working Papers

’Where to Pick From? International Bargaining over Policy Diffusion’ (with Matthew Rablen; presented in Brussels at EPSA in June 2016, in Philadelphia APSA in September 2016; in San Francisco at APSA in September 2017; in Innsbruck at the Austrian Political Science Association Meeting 2018, virtual via PaCSS & PolNet 2020).

’Hegemony, Counterhegemony, and Trade Agreement Design in Latin America’ (with Mary Anne Madeira, presented at ECPR 2020 virtual, at ISA 2021 virtual).

’The Power of Boilerplate: Bilateralism, Plurilateralism, and the International Tax System’ (with Vincent Arel-Bundock; under review; presented in Milan at EPSA in June 2017, in Galbino July 2017, in San Franciso at APSA in September 2017, in Hamburg at ECPR 2018). (under review)

Multilingual Dictionaries

Funding by the University of Innsbruck in the Digital Innovation in Research and Teaching program

The fact that each text type (e.g. newspaper articles, political speeches, legal documents) requires very specific dictionaries complicates matters. There is an accumulation of such resources since 1970s in English since the method emerged and developed in in the United States. Yet, there is still very little in German and other languages. The lack of lexical resources makes research of non-English texts using quantitative text analysis more difficult and cross- national analysis of textual data nearly impossible. Aiming to solve this problem, I work on various methods that help researchers generate cross-language dictionaries with a minimum budget. The only resources researchers need for the here proposed approach, is that they annotate a selection of texts in one language that is familiar to them. From this, a dictionary in this language will be created and then with computational methods amplified to other languages.

Working Papers

‘Scaling multilingual political and legal texts at a minimul budget: A method for cross-language dictionary creation’ (under review)

‘Reporting on Climate-Change Action in News Worldwide: An amplification of the Domestic Cleavage’ (with Gabriele Spilker, presented at EPG online 2020, at the Political Science day of the OEGPW 2021, and the CIS Colloquium at the ETH Zurich)

‘Climate Change Protest and Media Reporting’ (with Gabriele Spilker)

Distribution consequences of Preferential Trade Agreements

The term “preferential in ‘preferential trade agreements' indicates already that trade agreements create winners and losers. These distributional consequences do not only manifest across countries, but also across firms, workers, and people in general.


’Trade policy in a “GVC World”: Multinational corporations and trade liberalization’ (2020), in Business and Politics, 22 (4), 639 - 666. (with Christina Anderer and Andreas Dür).

’Bargaining Positions, Institutional Design and the Duration of Preferential Trade Negotiations’ (2018), in International Interactions, 44 (5), 833-861. (with Simon Wüthrich). Media coverage: Negotiation duration data used for article in the Economist ‘After Brexit, which trade deals should negotiators prioritise?

’Good for some, bad for others: US investors and non-trade issues in preferential trade agreements’ (2018), in Review of International Organizations, 13(2): 163-187.

’Business Interests and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ (2015), in The Politics of Transatlantic Trade Negotiations: TTIP in a Globalized World. Eds. Jean-Frédéric Morin, Novotna Tereza, Ponjaert Frederik and Mario Telo. London: Ashgate, 69-80 (with Andreas Dür).

Working Papers

’Digging deep: Which provisions in preferential trade agreements increase trade?’ (with Andreas Dür; presented in Berlin, January 2016 and Brussels, March 2017 and in Boston at PaCSS 2018). (under review)

’Who wins and who loses from trade agreements? Firm-level evidence from TPP and TTIP’ (with Andreas Dür; under review; presented in Budapest at PolText Incubator Workshop 2018 and in Hamburg at ECPR 2018, in Zürich at SPSA Annual Conference in 2019, and at PEIO in Salzburg in 2019).


event2car: The event2car package allows users to generate Cumulative Abnormal Returns (CAR) of one ot multiple events.

Causes and Consequences of Non-Trade Issues in Preferential Trade Agreements

Over time, preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have progressively incorporated standards that do not directly relate to trade. In particular, since the early nineties sociale political-, security- and environmental protection standards have been regulated through PTAs. Even though socially minded clauses are becoming more frequent in PTAs, these clauses vary in terms of precision, obligation, and delegation. While some agreements require member states to make major efforts in their human rights and environmental protection policies, other agreements are so shallow that member states only have to make rhetorical commitments towards a small selection of social rights. What causes the variation in these standards from one PTA to another, and what are the implications of these standards on business activity, human rights, and environmental protection?


’Taking it Seriously: Commitments to the Environment in South-South PTAs’ (2021), in Environmental Politics (with Gabriele Spilker).

’The trend towards more and stricter non-trade issues in preferential trade agreements’ (2019), in Current Challenges and Future Scenarios in Global Trade and Investment Regulation. Eds. Manfred Elsig and Gabriele Spilker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

’Good for some, bad for others: US investors and non-trade issues in preferential trade agreements’ (2018), in Review of International Organizations, 13(2): 163-187.

’Mapping the trade and environment nexus: Insights from a new dataset’ (2018), in Global Environmental Politics, 18(1): 122-139. (with Andreas D¨ur1 and Jean-Fr´ed´eric Morin2).

’The domestic battle over the design of non-trade issues in preferential trade agreements’ (2016), in Review of International Political Economy, 23 (5), 840-871. Media coverage: Article mentioned in Washington Post: ‘Does globalization hurt poor workers? It’s complicated’

Working Papers

'Compliance with Environmental Standards in Preferential Trade Agreements and the Moderating Effect of Firms'. (presented in Brussels, March 2017; in Salzburg, May 2017; at APSA in San Francisco September 2017, in Bonn 2017)

'How Non-Trade Issues in Preferential Trade Agreements Affect Global Value Chains' (with Ida Bastiaens and Evgeny Postnikov; under review; presented at IPES virtual 2020).

'Self-Binding: The Risk of Non-Democratic Overthrow and Political Clauses in Preferential Trade Agreement' (with Joon Yang; under review; presented in San Franciso at APSA in September 2017).