Polarization, institutional design and the future of representative democracy


October 5–7, 2017 | Berlin, Germany

Polarization, institutional design and the future of representative democracy

Berlin, Harnack Haus, 5–7th of October, 2017

Organizers: Hanna Bäck, Claudia Landwehr, Thomas Saalfeld & Michael Zürn


October 5

13:00 – 13:30
  Welcome and introduction (Thomas Saalfeld)

PART 1 | Polarization and the future of representative democracy:
parliaments and governments under pressure

13:30 – 15:30

PANEL 1 | Electoral systems, accountability and legislative polarization


Nolan McCarty (Princeton University):
Polarization and the Changing American Constitutional System

Michael Becher (IAST Toulouse) and Irene Menendez Gonzales (University of Zurich):
Electoral Reform and Trade-Offs in Representation

Adam Bonica (Stanford University) and Gary W. Cox (Stanford University):
Ideological Migration in the U.S. Congress: Out of Step but Still in Office

Scott LaCombe (University of Iowa): The Problem with How America Votes

Discussant: Thomas Zittel, University of Frankfurt


15:30 – 16:00  Coffee break


16:00 – 18:00

PANEL 2 | Polarization in legislatures

Hanna Bäck (Lund University), Royce Carroll (University of Essex) and Markus Baumann (University of Mannheim):

A Divided Parliament? Rhetorical Polarization in the Swedish Riksdag

Danielle Thomsen (Syracuse University): Primary Turnout and Partisan Polarization in the U.S. House

Sven-Oliver Proksch (University of Cologne): Parliamentary Rhetoric and Opposition: Evidence from Canada and Germany

Niels Goet (University of Oxford): Measuring Polarisation with Text Analysis: Evidence from the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015

Discussant: Ulrich Sieberer, University of Bamberg


18:30  Dinner & Drinks in the Harnack Haus



October 6


10:00 – 12:00

PANEL 3  | Polarization, coalitions and factions

Andrew Clarke (University of Virginia):
The Political Influence of American Party Factions

Hanna Bäck (Lund), Henning Bergmann and Thomas Saalfeld (Universität Bamberg):
Ideological Polarization and Cabinet Duration in European Democracies (1945-2013)

Jochen Müller (University of Greifswald) and Tristan Klingelhöfer (Johns Hopkins University):
Voters’ perceptions of disunity: Party and voter characteristics moderate the impact of intra-party coherence

Christopher Kam (University of British Columbia), Indridi Indridason (UC Riverside) and William Bianco (Indiana University): Polarization in multiparty systems

Discussant: Lanny Martin


12:00 – 14:00  Lunch


PART 2 | Beyond representative democracy?
Design and legitimacy of non-majoritarian institutions


14:00 – 16:00

PANEL 4 | Deliberative system or technocratic monster? Legitimacy, accountability and democratic control beyond representative institutions

Erik Eriksen (University of Oslo):
On the tension between epistocracy and democracy

Kaare Strom (University of California San Diego): Party Decline and the Madisonian Turn in Scandinavia

Discussant: Rainer Schmalz-Bruns (Leibniz-Universität Hannover)


16:00 – 16:30  Coffee break


16:30 – 18:00

PANEL 5 | Expert commissions, QUANGOS, and all of that: safeguards for institutions or safeguards for elites?

Cathrine Holst (University of Oslo):
Advisory commissions, academic knowledge and democratic legitimacy: a Nordic case

Michael Zürn (WZB Berlin): The Social Origins of Silent Majorities

Discussant: Miriam Hartlapp (Freie Universität Berlin)


18:30  Dinner & Drinks in the Harnack Haus



October 7


09:30 – 11:00

PANEL 6 | In a state of crisis: designing and redesigning EU institutions –
can we make the EU more majoritarian?

Tanja Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin):
The Limits of the EU Regulatory State: Redistribution and Multilevel Politics

Vivien A. Schmidt (Boston University):The Political Dynamics of EU Intra-Institutional Relations in Response to Crisis:  Toward More or Less EU Legitimacy?

Discussant: Katharina Holzinger (Universität Konstanz)


11:00 – 11:15  Coffee break


11:15 – 12:45

| Deliberative citizen participation: complementing policy discourses or simulating democracy?

Cristina Lafont (Northwestern University):
Democracy without Shortcuts:
Can Deliberative Minipublics enhance Citizens’ Democratic Control

Claudia Landwehr (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz): Democratic Meta-Deliberation

Discussant: Gunnar Folke-Schuppert (WZB Berlin)

12:45 – 13:00  Concluding remarks (Claudia Landwehr)

13:00  Lunch and departure (approximately 14:00)