Mirijam Böhme

DOCTORAL FELLOW

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Office: Feldkirchenstr. 21, Room: FG1/00.03 96052 Bamberg, Germany
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E-Mail: mirijam.boehme(at)uni-bamberg.de
Phone: +49(0)951/863-2478
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Pillar 4: Governance, Institutional Change and Political Behaviour

Field: Political Science

Research Interests: Political Psychology, Behavioral Public Administration, Decision-Making, Heuristics, Public Policy
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// DISSERTATION PROJECT


The Role of Psychological Mechanisms in Public Decision-Making Processes

It is widely assumed that peoples’ judgement and decision-making is the result of psychological mechanisms. However, when it comes to explaining public decision-making in the political and administrative sphere, there is a lack of studies concentrating on the psychological basis of public decision-makers, i.e., politicians and administrators.
One prominent strand of research shows that people use heuristics, i.e., subconsciously activated cognitive shortcuts, to deal with informationally complex situations. These heuristics can come in many different forms and help people to make sense of situations and to still arrive at meaningful decisions despite the situations’ complexity. Knowing that politicians and administrators are “only people”, we should assume that they, too, rely on heuristics. In my PhD project, I concentrate on this issue and aim to answer the following question: Do politicians and administrators use heuristics to aid their decision-making in complex local policy processes?
To this end, I analyze three cases in on-going local transport planning processes in Germany, Norway, and the UK. I conduct in-depth interviews with decision-makers to uncover their individual perceptions and decision-making logics. I systematically code these interviews, and secondary data, e.g., newspaper articles and minutes of meetings, for central topics and heuristics. By combination of the individual analysis of heuristic decision-making and the case-based understanding of the process, I aim to assess if and how heuristics are present, as well as whether we can qualitatively identify an impact of these heuristics on the processes development.

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// ACADEMIC BACKGROUND   

 

EDUCATION

2015 - 2018
Doctoral Studies at the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences

2012 – 2015
Master of Arts in Political Science, University of Bamberg
Major: Political Science (Specialization: Modern Political Theory)

Minor: Philosophy, especially Philosophy of Science
Master Thesis: 'An Experimental Study on Moral Decision-Making'

2008 – 2012
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Bamberg
Major: Political Science

Minor: Statistics
Bachelor Thesis: 'When Olson Gets Entangled - Networks in Political Economy'

AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

2015 -2018
PhD Scholarship, Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences, funded within the scope of the German Excellence Initiative (GSC1024)

2010
Scholarship for scientific education and training abroad (€ 1.550), International Summer School, Ben-Gurion-University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

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// PUBLICATIONS

BOOK CHAPTERS

Böhme, M. (2015), ‘When Olson Gets Entangled. Networks in Political Economy’ In: Kissane, D. and Volacu, A. (eds.): Modern Dilemmas: Understanding Collective Action in the 21st Century. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, 75-96.                          

POLICY ARTICLES

Gerrits, L., Marks, P., and Böhme, M. (2015). ‘The development and failure of the Dutch “Fyra” high-speed project’ In: Railway Update, 9, 146-148.

Gerrits, L., Marks, P., and Böhme, M. (2015). ‘Entwicklung und Scheitern des niederländischen Hochgeschwindigkeitsprojekts “Fyra”‘ In: Eisenbahn-Revue International, 7, 340-342.


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// CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS

2018
Kongress der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft. Paper Presentation: „ Der Einfluss von Heuristiken auf politische Entscheidungsfindungsprozesse – Ein Vergleich lokaler Infrastrukturplanungen in Deutschland und Norwegen “. Frankfurt/Main, Germany. September 2018. (scheduled)

ISPP Annual Meeting. Paper Presentation: “Detecting the Occurrence and Influence of Heuristics in Public Decision-Making”. San Antonio/USA. July 2018. (scheduled)

ISPP Annual Meeting. Paper Presentation: “Cognitive Biases in Public Policy Processes – Optimism Bias in Large Infrastructure Projects”. San Antonio/USA. July 2018. (scheduled)

IPPA Workshop on Overreaction in Politics and Policy. Paper Presentation: “Detecting Positivity Bias and Negativity Bias in Public Decision-Making”. Pittsburgh/USA. June 2018. (scheduled)

PSA Annual International Conference. Paper Presentation: “Beyond Data Collection and Access: To What Degree Can Qualitative Research Benefit from Analytical Transparency?”. Cardiff/UK. March 2018. (with I. Winnwa, presented by I. Winnwa)

2017
Conference on Complex Systems. Paper Presentation: “Detecting the Relationship Between Heuristic Decision-Making and the Complexity of Planning Processes”. Cancun/Mexico. September 2017.

EGPA Annual Conference; Panel: Behavioral Public Administration. Paper Presentation: “The Occurrence and Influence of Heuristics in Public Decision-Making: An Analysis of Two Planning Processes in Germany and Norway”. Milan/Italy. September 2017.

2016
11th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. Presentation: “How do Heuristics Shape and Influence Transport Infrastructure Planning? A First Analysis of the Bamberg Rail Extension Planning Process”. London/UK. August 2016.

3rd Annual BAGSS Conference. Presentation: “How do Heuristics Shape and Influence Transport Infrastructure Planning? A First Analysis of the Bamberg Rail Extension Planning Process”. Bamberg/Germany. July 2016.

3rd Internal BAGSS Conference. Presentation: “Decision-Making in Complex Environments. Analyzing the Interaction of Conflicting Decision Mechanisms in Public Infrastructure Programs”. Bamberg/Germany. February 2016.

2013
17th IAPSS Academic Conference. Paper Presentation: “When Olson Gets Entangled: Networks in Political Economy.” Bucharest/Romania. November 2013.


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// EXPERIENCE

ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE

05/2018 – 06/2018
Visiting PhD, Aarhus University, Department of Political Science

2015 – 2018
Lecturer, University of Bamberg, Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems

2018
Field Research, Bergen/Norway

2017
Field Research, Bergen/Norway, London/UK, Tel-Aviv/Israel

2014 – 2015 
Student assistant at the Chair for the Governance of Innovative and Complex Technological Systems, University of Bamberg.

2011 – 2014
Tutor, University of Bamberg, Chair for Political Sociology

2012 – 2013
Tutor, University of Bamberg, Chair for Comparative Politics

2010 – 2012  
Student Assistant, University of Bamberg, Chair for Comparative Politics

2009  
Student Assistant, University of Bamberg, Professorship for International Comparative Policy Analysis


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

WS 16/17 (2x), WS 17/18        B.A. Seminar: Academic Skills in Political Science

WS 15/16, SS 16                     B.A. Seminar: Academic Skills in Political Science (in English)

SS 11 - WS 13/14                    B.A. Tutorial: Methods of Political Sociology with SPSS

WS 12/13 - SS 13                    B.A. and M.A. Tutorial: How to Write a Good Thesis


SERVICE TO THE PROFESSION

Organization

Co-Organizer, Interdisciplinary Workshop, The Art of Analyzing Real Decisions – Different Approaches to the Psychological Dimension of Political Decision-Making, 09-10 November 2017, Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (with L. Gerrits).

Co-Organizer, Guest Lecture of Michael Bang Petersen, Investigating the Psychological Dimension behind Political Attitudes, 09 November 2017, Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (with L. Gerrits)

Co-Organizer, 14th Meeting of the AESOP Thematic Group on Planning and Complexity: Taking Stock of Complexity Sciences – Evidence of Progress in Urban Planning?, 11-12 February 2016, Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems, University of Bamberg (with L. Gerrits, S. Verweij, W. Rauws, S. Raffel, J. Stieg, E. Wenzel)

Co-Organizer, 1st Student Conference in Political Science Vice Versa, University of Bamberg

Committees

Elected Executive Board Member, Alumni Association of Political Science (BAD e.V.), University of Bamberg

Elected Member of Doctoral Student Council, Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Bamberg

Student Member of the Committee for the Use of Tuition Fees, Political Science Department, University of Bamberg

Student Member of the Appointment Committee for the Professorship (W2-Professur) for Political Science, University of Bamberg

Executive Board Member, Student Working Committee in Political Science (Ak Pol), University of Bamberg

Review Activities

International Journal of Project Management, 3rd and 4th Annual BAGSS Conference

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// RELATED CONTENT


Find articles and events on the website of the Graduate School which are connected to Mirijam's work and contributions:


ORGANIZER & HOST

RESEARCH WORKSHOP

The Art of Analyzing Real Decisions – Different Approaches to the Psychological Dimension of Political Decision-Making

 

+ LEARN MORE

 

 

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