We welcome Research Fellow Elisa Deiss-Helbig to the Zukunftskolleg

Elisa Deiss-Helbig is a new Research Fellow from the 17th call for applications for fellowships. She has started her fellowship on 1 October and is affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration.

Before coming to Konstanz, Elisa worked as a research associate at the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Stuttgart, where she also completed her PhD. In 2021, she received funding for a temporary position as principal investigator in her research project GROUPTA (“Group targeting and citizens’ responses to electoral promises and their realization”) by the German Research Association (DFG). Together with two colleagues from Sciences Po (Paris) and the University of Trier, Elisa also secured a grant for a French-German research project UNEQUALMAND (“Unequal mandate responsiveness? How electoral promises and their realizations target groups in France and Germany”) from the DFG and the French National Research Agency (ANR).

“Working on my dissertation, I have focused on candidate selection and the descriptive representation of citizens with immigrant origins”, Elisa explains. “In my current research, I study political inequality from a fresh perspective by looking at how inequalities in the policy representation of a variety of social groups can be traced back to electoral promises and enacted policies.”

Her research project at the Zukunftskolleg takes a multi-faceted approach. She examines political inequality through various lenses: (1) analyzing it at different stages of the policymaking process, encompassing both promise making and promise fulfillment; (2) exploring it from demand-side (voter-based) and supply-side (party-based) angles; (3) studying it across the spectrum of socially diverse groups, (4) with a pronounced emphasis on politically marginalized groups. “In a first step, my analyses are restricted to electoral promises made by governing parties. In a second step, the research will be extended to opposition parties’ electoral pledges as well. Over the next five years, I aim to unravel a series of intriguing questions: Which social groups receive electoral promises and for whom do these promises translate into concrete actions? How do the mobilization resources and societal perceptions of these groups influence this process? How have perceptions of the deservingness of different social groups evolved over time; how can we explain variations in the perceived deservingness of groups at the individual level; and how does this contribute to our understanding of the making and fulfillment of electoral promises for particular social groups? How and under what conditions do citizens respond to group appeals in electoral programs and to the fulfillment and breach of these promises; and what does this tell us about parties’ incentives to make and fulfill promises to particular groups?”

We wish Elisa a good start and all the best for her time at the Zukunftskolleg!