POLITSOLID – Project Log

14.03.2023 – Achim Goerres added an update

New project homepage POLITSOLID and follow project members

Dear all,
please follow the people involved in POLITSOLID on ResearchGate
Jan Karem Höhne Jakob Jonathan Kemper @Joshua-Claassen @AchimGoerres
to continue receiving project news.
Please book mark the new project homepage with all publications and links http://achimgoerres.de/politsolid
Here are some further news.
Jan Karem Höhne will join the University of Hannover as Assistant Professor of Survey Methodology on 01 May 2023 and continue to work on our project.
Joshua Claassen https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joshua-Claassen
will join the project team as junior project officer and PhD student on 01 May 2023
We are currently collecting data in two countries on simulatenous interactive instruments of solidarity (with Markus S. Tepe) and further developping our virtual online state.

10.11.2023 – Jan Karem Höhne added an update

Artificial Online State NOVALAND

Yesterday, we successfully conducted the first large-scale study of the artificial online state Novaland with more than 300 participants that were recruited via social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Here are some first-hand insights into data collection.

22.08.2022 – Jakob Kemper added an update

We are at the ECPR General Conference 2022

We’ll present our work this week at the ECPR General Conference 2022 in Innsbruck.
First talk coming up today:
The behavioural consequences of political solidarities: Validating the solidarity game on a representative online sample with real-time interaction in oTree
Where? Building: D, Floor: G, Room: HS1
When? Monday 13:00 – 14:45 (22/08/2022)
The second talk takes place on thursday:
Piloting Experimental Tests of Macro-Micro-Level Effects in an Artificial Online State: How Income Inequalities Affect Political Solidarities
Where? Building: A, Floor: 1, Room: SR1
When? Thursday 14:00 – 15:45 (25/08/2022)
I would be very happy to meet with you if you’re interested in our work.

27.06.2022 – Jakob Kemper added an update

Two presentations at EPSA Annual Conference 2022

On friday, I presented two papers at the EPSA Annual Conference in Prague. We are very grateful for the comments and questions from the discussants and the audience.

In the paper “Piloting Experimental Tests of Macro-Micro-Level Effects in an Artificial Online State: How Income Inequalities Affect Political Solidarities” I presented first results from the experiments in our artificial state Novaland.

In the paper “The behavioural consequences of political solidarities: Validating the solidarity game on a representative online sample with real-time interaction in oTree” I presented our online implementation of the solidarity game by Selten and Ockenfels (1998) and the plans we have to use this measurement instrument.

11.06.2022 – Jakob Kemper added an update

Economic games in political science: Testing the Usability of Solidarity Game Experiments using the open-source platform oTree

I presented first results from a pilot study we conducted together with Markus Tepe at the Annual Conference of the Section Methods of Political Science (DVPW), 10 June 2022.

Economic games in political science: Testing the Usability of Solidarity Game Experiments using the open-source platform oTree

Authors: Jakob Kemper, Achim Goerres, Jan Höhne, Markus Tepe

Political psychology and sociology frequently aim to measure the multi-dimensional concept of political solidarity using survey measures. This is done in major surveys, such as the World Values Surveys (WVS). However, political scientists point to methodological shortcomings of survey measures and argue for the use of (experimental) behavioural measures that are collected via behavioural games, such as the solidarity game. The main reason is that political scientists are usually not primarily interested in the attitudes per se, but in the behaviour these elicit. Most frequently, games are conducted in lab rather than in field settings reducing external validity. Solidarity-based behaviour is difficult to measure in the field, but measuring it could help to better understand contributions to a political community. The open-source platform oTree allows researchers to conduct browser-based, interactive experiments and surveys. The programming of the experiment can be done visually via a user-friendly interface in oTree studio or in the programming language Python. In this talk, I present a solidarity game programmed in oTree, and the results from pilot tests with participants from a convenience sample. The game will enable political scientists to measure political solidarity behaviour in a simple way. In addition, I present my research agenda regarding the use of behavioural measures in the study of political solidarities. Measuring human behaviour in an experimental setting allows political scientists to better understand and predict human behaviour in the real world. The transfer of methods from behavioural economics to political science will open new avenues for research.

31.05.2022 – Achim Goerres added an update

First results of artifical online state experience presented in Munich

Living in Novaland: Can we Simulate the Experience of States and Public Policies in an Artificial Online State?

Jan Karem Höhne Jakob Jonathan Kemper and programmer Raphael Hürler invited by Christoph Knill, LM University of Munich, 31 May 2022

What if we could experimentally manipulate all characteristics of states and public policies and estimate their effects on citizens? This presentation puts forward the first evidence from a pilot of Novaland. Novaland is an artificial liberal democracy that only exists online and that has characteristics realistically drawn from German, Romanian and US contexts. The pilot consists of an experimental online platform based on text, images and audio in which volunteers (a) are surveyed before they go into the experience, (b) are randomly assigned to different experiences, such as defined by income, quality of government or state corruption, (c) interact with each other simultaneously and (d) thereby co-create collective decisions, such as elections or donation pools, that then determine the course of Novaland and thereby the subsequent experiences of the participants.

The pilot gives us many insights into the usefulness of such full experiential simulations in the social sciences. Can this technically and organizationally be done? Do participants behave in an externally valid manner? Do they behave sincerely? What is the potential of such an approach for finding causal effects?

28.04.2022 – Achim Goerres added an update

Workshop Politsolid in Duisburg

Jan Karem Höhne Jakob Jonathan Kemper and I are organising the first workshop in Duisburg 28-30 April. We have guests from Norway, the UK, Austria and Germany who are coming to Germany.

a whole workshop on the politics of solidarities

21.02.2022 – Achim Goerres added an update

We R learning O-tree and programming new behavioural instruments

We have started working with Markus S. Tepe to develop new measures of solidarities for the online framework Otree.

Jakob Jonathan Kemper is taking the technical lead on Otree and will present first results on 10-11 March at the 24h Political Psychology Network meeting in Chemnitz.

22.01.2022 – Achim Goerres added an update

New PhD student and project officer Jakob Kemper, two new working papers, one new presentation

Jakob Jonathan Kemper joined the POLITSOLID project in November 2021 or 3 years as project officer and PhD student.

Jan Karem Höhne and I have a new paper under review about how to optimally measure political solidarities in survey

Mark Vail and I have a new paper under review about public responses towards the Covid crisis in the US and DE, using the concept of national models of solidarity.

I gave a presentation at the Research Institute for Social Cohesion Germany. Materials can be found here www.achimgoerres.de/politsolid

Jan, Jakob and I submitted the first-year deliverables to the ERC as to data protection, data management and ethics management.

Prof Peter John of King’s College London is our ethics advisor for the rest of the project.

Objectives for 2022

  1. get rich and famous
    while we are wating for that
  2. Jakob Jonathan Kemper will define his PhD thesis and craft his first paper
  3. we are working with Markus S. Tepe to create behavioural instruments to measure solidarity in online and offline surveys
  4. we are developing a pilot of an online platform to create an artifical world where volunteers can interact
  5. we are organising a workshop on solidarity with colleagues from economics, sociology and political science

25.06.2021 – Achim Goerres added an update

Recruiting Predoc ERC-CoG project POLITSOLID

We are recruiting a predoc for three years for th ERC-project POLITSOLID.

1700 € net salary after taxes and health insurance in Duisburg

The ideal candidate should care about why individuals behave politically as they do and in cutting-edge experimental and survey methods.

Deadline is 14 July 2021


16.06.2021 – Achim Goerres added an update

First POLITSOLID paper: Achim Goerres and Mark I. Vail

As part of the theory development, I have co-authored a paper with Mark Vail from Wake Forest @MarkVail about the ways in which the United States and Germany reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic and what we can learn from that about political solidarities.

Solidarities, Fairness, and Economic Governance in Advanced Capitalism: The Cases of COVID-19 Responses in Germany and the United States

This paper addresses the theoretical question of how competing models of social and economic solidarity shape patterns of economic governance in periods of economic crisis. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a signal case, we seek to understand how changes in public opinion in response to similar social and economic shocks are informed by deeper ideational structures among citizens relating to their capacity for empathy, mutual support, and willingness to support and trust public policy interventions. Drawing on scholarly literatures related to moral economies and the social embeddedness of economic relationships, we undertake an empirical study of how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped patterns of support for social and economic policies. We focus on Germany and the United States, countries with widely divergent modes of integration of capitalist markets and, therefore, potentially different levels of support for particular kinds of policy responses. We trace American and German policy responses since March 2020 across a number of domains, complemented by a systematic analysis of public opinion in the two countries, drawing from fifteen different sources of public-opinion data, in order to assess the pandemic’s effects on public support for individualized and collectively-oriented policy responses.

The paper is available here
https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/x37qr (the second still needs pre-approval).

The paper will be presented next week at the virtual Annual Conference of the Council for European Studies

24.02.2021 – Achim Goerres added an update

We R live: Research Agenda online

Jan Karem Höhne and I started working on POLITSOLID.

Find the Research Agenda for five years here as an online paper


27.11.2020 – Achim Goerres added an update

Presentation at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies Cologne

On 27 November 2020, I am giving a presentation in German More with one another and more against one another? Political Solidarities during the Corona Pandemic.

find a pre-recorded presentation here

and the slides below

16.11.2020 – Achim Goerres added an update

Postdoc recruited

I am happy to report that I could recruit Dr Jan Höhne as the leading postdoc for POLITSOLID. Jan Karem Höhne is currently working in the research cluster The Political Economy of Reform at the University of Mannheim. He will start in Duisburg in January 2021.

07.09.2020 – Achim Goerres added an update

I am recruiting a postdoc to start 01 January 2021

please apply by 14 September


Please share widely.

04.12.2019 – Achim Goerres added a project goal

This ERC Consolidator Grant project POLITSOLID investigates the micro-foundations of political solidarities in fast-changing European polities. It analyses why some ordinary citizens show a high overall willingness to shoulder costs of public redistribution to other people in a polity, while others do not; and why ordinary citizens have multiple levels of willingness to shoulder costs depending on who receives the benefit.

Relevance: Having high levels of political solidarities is important for modern democracies to deal with exogenous shocks and long-term structural changes in their societies, which create pressures on the political system. Recent exogenous shocks in Europe that brought the necessity of political solidarities to light were the financial crisis (2007/8) with its extensive transnational bail-out policies across the European Union and the large refugee intake (2015/16). Relevant long-term structural changes are population ageing, rising income inequality and mass immigration.

POLITSOLID answers the overarching research question: What drives political solidarities in modern European democracies?


• To create a novel theoretical and empirical framework that allows simultaneous modelling of multiple political solidarities and that includes the individual as well as the macro levels to enable better predictions about how people behave.

• To test causal mechanisms with a range of mostly experimental methods to get a better understanding of causality where observational studies have so far dominated.

• To isolate effective levers that political actors can pull to create political solidarities.

Data: POLITSOLID collects and analyses new data from (1) lab experiments & online surveys, (2) a simulated artificial state ‘Novaland’ in which volunteers from Austria, Germany & Switzerland act as citizens in an online environment, with experimental treatments applied, (3) an international panel survey in six countries and (4) field experiments in collaboration with real political actors.