Political Economy

Credit: Pixabay.com.


[coming soon]


Ass.-Prof. Dr. Sarah Berens (  website)

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Dominik Duell (  website)

Current Projects

  • Varieties of Violence: How crime affects public policy preferences in developing countries

    Ass.-Prof. Dr. Sarah Berens, 2022-2024, Tiroler Wissenschaftsförderung (TWF)

    Citizens in democratic developing countries are confronted with an increase of criminal
    violence in the past decades. Organized crime in the form of drug-cartels, human trafficking
    organizations or criminal protection rackets threaten citizen security as law enforcement and
    policing by the state fails to exercise control over these violent non-state actors. Such failure
    — driven by absence, incapacity or collusion — undermines the state’s prime legitimizing
    function, that is, to guarantee protection. How does criminal violence affect citizens’ public
    policy preferences? Does crime raise demand for preemptive policies (such as education),
    justice or more punitiveness and how does the nature of violence influence policy preferences
    in the context of budget constraints and the need to prioritize some public policies over
    others? Drawing upon previous contributions, I expect preferences for public policies and
    taxation to be shaped by the severity of crime, the justice received and the identity of the
    perpetrator. When the police is perceived as absent or even as cooperator of organized crime,
    support for fiscal exchange — both, demand for social protection policies and willingness
    to contribute in the form of taxation — with the state should decline. However, such a
    dismissal of public policies should differ by the severity of crime experience and the identity
    of the perpetrator. Highly violent experiences might on the one hand lead to apathy or
    withdrawal and on the other hand, raise practical needs of state support. Taking into
    account the diversity of crime experiences of victims and the complexity of crime exerted
    by different types of perpetrators, this project addresses the impact of criminal violence on
    individual preferences toward public policies in the context permeated by organized crime
    of Mexico. To answer the research questions the project will collect original standardized
    survey data and conduct survey experiments in Mexico in 2022/23.


Current Publications

Altamirano, Melina/Berens, Sarah/Deeg, Franziska (forthcoming): Varieties of Economic Vulnerability: Evidence on Social Policy Preferences and Labor Informality from Mexico, in: Latin American Politics & Society.

Berens, Sarah/Ruth-Lovell, Saskia (2021): Does Clientelism Hinder Progressive Social Policy in Latin America?, in: Acta Politica 56, 694-718.

Duell, Dominik/Landa, Dimitri (2021): Strategic Discrimination in Hierarchies, in: Journal of Politics 83 (2).

Altamirano, Melina/Berens, Sarah/Ley, Sandra (2020): The Welfare State amid Crime: How Victimization and Perception of Insecurity Affect Social Policy Preferences in Latin America and the Caribbean, in: Politics & Society 48 (3), 389-422.

Berens, Sarah (2020): Opting for Exit: Is Informalization a Function of Social Policy Discontent and Lack of Good Governance?, in: Latin American Politics & Society 62 (2), 1–28.

Duell, Dominik (2020): Follow the Majority? How Voters Coordinate Electoral Support to Secure Club Goods, in: Political Science Research and Methods, 1-17.


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