Ongoing projects

Design of Financial Governance (DEFIGO) - DFG-Support (09/2017-08/2020


Brief project description

Project team: Thomas Rixen, Nikolaus Jopke, Simon Linder

Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators (COFFERS) - Horizon 2020 (11/2016-10/2019)


Brief project description

Project team: Thomas Rixen, Lukas Hakelberg, Fabio Bothner, Leo Ahrens



Completed projects (selection)

Global tax justice: normative principles and institutional design

Increased capital mobility as a result of technical progress and the abolition of exchange controls has led to tax competition between nation states. Governments are trying to attract foreign investment by lowering corporate taxes and capital gains. Empirical research has shown that this is not advantageous for all countries, but that they could better position themselves through international cooperation to regulate tax competition. The aim of the project is to find out how this cooperation should be structured. In particular, it addresses the following two questions: (1) Which normative principles should international tax cooperation follow? Which other, possibly conflicting, normative principles, such as sovereignty or economic efficiency, must be respected? (2) Which tax policy instruments are most likely to be implemented in practice?

Related publications

Thomas Rixen: Globalisierung und fiskalische Demokratie, Politische Vierteljahresschrift 59(1), 103-124 [Research Gate]

Peter Dietsch/Thomas Rixen (2016) (Ed.): Global Tax Governance. What’s wrong with it and how to fix it. ECPR Press: Colchester 2016 [Research Gate | SSRN]

Peter Dietsch/Thomas Rixen (2014): Tax Competition and Global Background Justice, Journal of Political Philosophy 22(2), 150-177 [Research Gate | SSRN]


Historical Institutionalism and Theories of Institutional Change

The project, carried out jointly with Lora Viola (FU Berlin) and Michael Zürn (WZB), is about two things: First, we propose a new conceptualization of the dependent variable "institutional change". This should contribute to the theoretical discussion. Second, we  demonstrate that our conceptualization allows a better understanding of empirical reality. In an international network - including Tim Büthe (Duke University), Orfeo Fioretos (Temple University) and Jonas Tallberg (Stockholm) - case studies on institutional change in various international policy fields (including trade, competition policy, finance, health and nutrition) will be drawn up, for which our conceptualization forms the uniform framework.

Related publications

Thomas Rixen/Lora Viola (2015): Putting Path Dependence in its Place: Toward a Taxonomy of Institutional Change, Journal of Theoretical Politics 27(3), 301-323 (Alexander George Article Award der American Political Science Association) [Research Gate | SSRN]

Thomas Rixen/Lora Viola/Michael Zürn (2016) (Ed.) Historical Institutionalism and International Relations. Explaining Institutional Development in World Politics. Oxford University Press [Research Gate | SSRN]


Financial market regulation after the crisis

How can it be explained that despite the biggest crisis since the Great Depression, hardly any stricter regulation of the financial markets has been undertaken so far? This question is explored using the example of the lack of regulation of shadow banks and offshore financial centres.

Related publications

Thomas Rixen (2009): Paradiese in der Krise. Transparenz und neue Regeln für Steuer- und Regulierungsoasen

. Berlin: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. (Link: )

Thomas Rixen (2013)

Why Reregulation after the Crisis is feeble: Offshore Financial Centers, Shadow Banking and Jurisdictional Competition, Regulation & Governance 7(4), 435-459 [Research Gate | SSRN]


The politicization of international economic institutions

  The project, carried out jointly with Bernhard Zangl (LMU Munich), aims to empirically verify the thesis that a delegation of decision-making authority to supranational institutions and the associated greater depth of intervention in formerly national affairs leads to a stronger politicization of the respective international organization. In addition, the alternative thesis is examined that in the course of social modernization processes there is a growing politicization over time. The study is based on a comparing case study from the field of international tax policy and is carried out with the help of a content analysis of newspaper articles from American quality newspapers. As an indicator of the degree of politicization, the frequency of qualitatively specific types of argumentation found in the texts is surveyed.

Related publications

Thomas Rixen und Bernhard Zangl (2012): Die Politisierung internationaler Institutionen: Legitimation durch Konstitutionalisierung oder durch Souveränität?, Leviathan. Sonderband 27 „Der Aufstieg der Legitimitätspolitik. Rechtfertigung und Kritik politisch-ökonomischer Ordnungen“, hrsg. von Anna Geis, Frank Nullmeier und Christopher Daase, S. 118-134.

Thomas Rixen/Bernhard Zangl (2013):The Politicization of International Economic Institutions in US Public Debates, The Review of International Organizations 8 (3), 363-387 [Research Gate | SSRN]


Welfare State Structures and Party Differences (Dissertation Project, Frank Bandau)

Whether political parties can make a difference in social policy is a much discussed question in welfare state research. In contrast to comparable studies, however, the focus is on the influence of existing welfare state structures on the reform efforts of different governments. The central thesis of the dissertation is that the welfare state institutions (resulting even from disputes between parties) structure the reform process, i.e. shape the appearance, content and intensity of the party conflicts and thus significantly influence the nature and strength of the actual party effects. The conflict patterns that can be observed thus vary between states depending on the institutional design of welfare state programs. This thesis is examined with Great Britain, Sweden and Germany as three welfare states that differ significantly in their structures.

Related publications

Frank Bandau (2011): Do Parties Still Matter in Protecting the Unemployed? A Contextualized Comparison of Great Britain, Sweden and Germany. Arbeitspapier präsentiert auf der Jahrestagung der DVPW-Sektion Politische Ökonomie „Der Wandel politischer Intervention“, Bamberg, 15./16. September Haushaltskonsolidierung nach der Finanzkrise(243.8 KB)


The German low-wage sector [Niedriglohnsektor] in a welfare state comparison (dissertation project, Valeska Gerstung)

 Within the welfare regime typology of Esping-Andersen, the Federal Republic of Germany belongs to the group of conservative welfare states. This type has a medium level of decommodification, while social democratic regimes are characterized by a high level of decommodification and liberal regimes by a low level. From the typology, the theoretical expectation can be derived that the low-wage sector, whose size can be regarded as an indicator of state decommodification efforts, should be smaller in social democratic and conservative welfare states than in liberal regimes. The empirical observations in the case of Germany, however, do not correspond to the theoretically justified assumption about the connection between conservative welfare regimes, decommodification levels and the expansion of the low-wage sector. Instead of a low or moderate level of low-wage employment, Germany, despite a relatively high degree of decommodification, has a low-wage sector with the dimension of liberal welfare states. In the group of conservative welfare regimes, Germany represents an atypical phenomenon and thus justifies the puzzle of the doctoral project, which questions the political-institutional determinants of low-wage sector growth. The focus is on the one hand on the question which material policy contents influenced the development of low-wage employment and on the other hand on why corresponding policies were implemented. The research question is examined with the help of a most similar system design, which includes the cases of Germany, Belgium and France within the framework of a qualitative comparison.


Related publications