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.

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.

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.


"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) [open access]

"Was heißt und zu welchem Ende betreibt man juristische Netzwerkanalyse? Eine neue Methode in der Verfassungsrechtsvergleichung" (2020), in Zeitschrift für Öffentliches Recht, (5), 857-884. (with Lando Kirchmair) [gated version ]

"The trend towards more and stricter non-trade issues in preferential trade agreements" (2019), in "The Shifting Landscape of Global Trade Governance". Eds. Manfred Elsig and Gabriele Spilker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [gated version]

"Bargaining Positions, Institutional Design and the Duration of Preferential Trade Negotiations" (2018), in International Interactions, 44 (5), 833-861. (with Simon Wüthrich) [gated version | preprint]

"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. [gated version | preprint]

"Mapping the trade and environment nexus: Insights from a new dataset" (2017), in Global Environmental Politics, 18(1): 122-139. (with Andreas Dür and Jean-Frédéric Morin) [gated version]

"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. [gated version | preprint]

"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, p. 69-80 (with Andreas Dür). [preprint]