Frontiers of Democracy: Faculty and Student Research

Given CEU's history, location, and dedication to the principles of democracy and open society, much of CEU faculty research naturally revolves around democratization, democracy and its imperfections. The Departments of Political Science (PolSci), International Relations (IR), Legal Studies (LEGS), Public Policy (DPP), the School of Public Policy (SPP), and CEU Business School (BUS) are the most active in these fields. 


Bela Greskovits, (POLS, IR): Greskovits’s research interests are the political economy of East-Central European capitalism, comparative economic development, social movements, and democratization.

Alexander Astrov (IR): Astrov’s research is situated at the intersection of international relations theory and political theory, focusing mainly on the ideas of order and politics. He is particularly interested in the history and changing practices of "great powers" and their role in global political order.

Laszlo Csaba (IR): Csaba’s research interests lie in the field of international political economy.

Peter Balazs (IR, Center for EU Enlargement – CENS): Balazs’s research activities are centered on the foreign policy of the EU and problems of the late modernization and European integration of the eastern part of the continent. He also analyzes questions of European and global governance including the future of European institutions.

Gabor Toka (POLS): Toka’s research interest is primarily in voting behavior and democratic institutions, and particularly the impact of the former on the latter. He is also interested in public opinion, survey methodology, and East European politics.

Andras Bozoki (POLS): Bozoki’s main fields of research include democratization, political ideas, Central European politics, elites, public discourse and the role of intellectuals.

Dorothee Bohle (POLS): Bohle’s research focuses on the political economy of Eastern Europe. 

Zsolt Enyedi (POLS): The focus of Enyedi’s research interests is on party politics, comparative government, church and state relations, and political psychology (especially authoritarianism, prejudices and political tolerance). 

Carsten Schneider (POLS): Schneider’s research focuses on regime transitions, the consolidation and quality of democracies. He is also active in the field of comparative methodology, especially on set-theoretic methods, in particular Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and its fuzzy set extension.

Agnes Batory (DPP): Batory’s research interests include corruption and corruption control, regulation and regulatory agencies, party politics and European integration, and sectoral policies and institutional aspects of EU governance.

Nick Sitter (DPP): Sitter’s research interests include public policy (European integration, energy policy, competition law), party systems (political parties, party strategy, Euroscepticism), and political violence (democratization, civil war, terrorism).

Attila Folsz (POLS): Folsz is a political economist specializing in post-communist transition and the EU, with a special focus on enlargement and monetary unification.

Emel Akcali (IR): Akcali’s current teaching and research interests cover the state, society and politics in the Middle East and North Africa, social movements, upheavals and (trans-)formation of collective identities in the age of globalization, the limits of neoliberal governmentality outside of the Western realm, critical realist philosophy and non-Western and alternative globalist geopolitical discourses.

Matteo Fumagalli (IR): Fumagalli's interests include Central Asian, Caucasian and post-Soviet politics more broadly; the comparative study of authoritarianism; international security; the politics of development; ethno -nationalism, migration, and diasporas; state failure and collapse; the 'water-energy-food security nexus'.

Thomas Fetzer (IR): Fetzer’s current research interests are primarily related to the role of ideas in the international political economy, with a specific focus on (economic) nationalism, as well as the impact of economic globalization on socioeconomic inequality and processes of collective interest formation. In a recent project, Thomas has also explored the emergence of various notions of 'economic Europeannness'.

Renata Uitz (LEGS): Uitz’s teaching covers subjects in comparative constitutional law in Europe and North America, transitional justice and human rights protection with special emphasis on the enforcement of constitutional rights and on issues of bodily privacy and sexuality. Theories and practices of good governance in and after democratic transition, and the role of courts in constructing the constitutional subject are at the center of her research interests.

Maria Findrik (BUS): Findrik’s research interest includes macro and micro analysis of the business environment, international competitive analysis, the transition process from emerging economies to established market economies and its social impact, and the regulation of natural monopolies.

Michael Dorsch (SPP): Dorsch’s research and teaching interests are mainly in public economics and political economics. His current research program investigates the political economy of development, with a particular interest in the economic causes and consequences of political instability, civil conflict and democratization.


CEU is a laboratory for ongoing doctoral research projects on the different stages of development, concerning various aspects of democracy. Below is information about some of them.

Mihai Chiru (POLS): Chiru’s dissertation is titled “The Effect of Electoral Institutions and Candidate Campaigns on Constituency Service in Central and Eastern Europe.” It deals with the determinants and consequences of legislators' accountability towards local interests and their constituents in Hungary and Romania. In doing so, it analyzes the impact of electoral rules, institutional reforms and campaigning styles and contents on the legislators' engagement in constituency service. Also, the dissertation analyzes whether voters in the two countries value constituency service. The project draws on a number of original data sets comprising parliamentary behavior data (e.g. parliamentary questions), surveys with MPs and data on electoral results.

Roland Schmidt (POLS): In his work, Schmidt explores the long-term consequences of post-conflict power-sharing agreements and focuses particularly on the inherent incompatibilities between the short-term necessities of external peace-making and the requirements for the long-term emergence of a self-sustaining peace and a functioning democratic system. His research is based on quantitative as well as comparative case study research and seeks to put the experiences of Bosnia Herzegovina since the Dayton Agreement into perspective.

Constantin Bosancianu (POLS): Bosancianu’s research focuses on the impact of the connections between party shifts in policy platforms, income inequality, and changes in political behavior and attitudes at the individual level. The perspective behind the research is that there is no direct connection between inequality and individual behavior; rather, shifts in both inequality and individual-level behavior or attitudes are influenced by party changes on a left-right axis in the 1980s and 1990s and the resulting transformations in welfare state strength. The analysis involves statistical analyses performed on voter surveys from 16 OECD countries starting from the 1950s and 1960s.

Sebastian Popa (POLS): Popa’s research covers a variety of topics, including the determinants of political information, the role that political knowledge plays in voting behavior, measurement of political information, data quality, and the influence of genetics on political attitudes and behavior. All these topics are based the analysis of large datasets.

Anatoly Reshetnikov (IR): Reshetnikov’s dissertation seeks to explain the role of the ‘great power’ narrative in Russian history by focusing on the following questions: Why was it the great power narrative that always managed to ensure social consolidation and compliance, while other narratives constantly failed? What did it mean for Russia to be a great power historically and today? To answer these questions, the dissertation employs a genealogy of great power discourse in Russian history from pre-modern times until the 21st century.

Renira Angeles (POLS): Angeles’ doctoral research seeks to explain the long-term institutional factors behind the variation of top incomes across contemporary capitalist societies. Increased income from labor and the very top high-income earners are one of the factors behind the abrupt escalation of inequalities across the advanced capitalist economies, including the most egalitarian societies. There are, however, varieties of outcomes across countries, despite facing similar critical junctures where international and national regulators favor a more shareholder-oriented governance of corporations.

David Pupovac (POLS): Pupovac’s dissertation titled “The Radical Right in Policy Space: A Comparative Analysis of Radical Right Parties in Eastern and Western Europe” contributes to better understanding of the ideology of the European radical right and the function ideology plays in the radical right’s performance in elections by comparatively analyzing Eastern and Western European radical right parties. The research address three central problems: definition and the ideological transformations of the radical right through time; ideological differences between Eastern and Western European radical right parties; and the effects of ideological shifts and the interactions of competitors in policy space on the variation of the radical right’s vote shares. The dissertation offers comprehensive and novel account on the radical right and introduces innovative methodological approach to the analysis of radical right’s ideology

Margaryta Rymarenko (IR): Rymarenko’s PhD project, titled “Quest for Region-Building in Europe and Asia: the Role of Regional Organizations in Managing External Powers” focuses on the cases of EU-Russia and ASEAN-China relations in order to explore how, by constructing particular context of interaction, regional organizations (ROs) succeed or fail to socialize 'big neighbors' in their vision of regional order. The European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations offer counterintuitive evidence to what regional actor perspective and socialization theory would predict about ROs impact on the external powers. Contrary to the mainstream arguments that highlight regional capabilities as explanatory factors, this projects builds on what regional organizations do (policy approaches and practices)   in order to evaluate their impact as actors.