Dissertationsthemen 2017-2020

Thomas Lehner - Politicization during the Euro Crisis: Opportunities and Challenges for Political Parties

The Euro Crisis posed a severe threat to the European Union, as it combined multiplelayers of conflict and posed novel challenges to the Union. An elite conflictemerged between countries, but also within countries, as mainstream party conflictover the question „Which Europe do you want?“ emerged. The thesis is guided bythe over all research question, how the Euro crisis affected the discussion aboutEuropean integration on the European and dometic level. Based on new data gatheredby the Horizon 2020 project „EMU Choices“ the dimensionaity of the politicalconflict is analysed, mapping the dominant cleavages across countries on an aggregatedlevel. In a second step the question has to be answered why different levelsand types of contestation can be observed in different member states, it is arguedthat governments, representing their domestic interest successfully on the Europeanlevel face less critique on the domestic level and are therefore more successfulin depoliticising the European issue.

Milena Kern - The optimal degree of harmonization for a fair and sustainable EU

The unification of national economic areas to one common European market is agreat achievement in the process of European integration. Nevertheless, the designand organisation is lacking important adjustments. The existence of diversified taxsystems under national control within the common market, where no border controlsexist, prodcue harmful incentives for multinational firms. Since capital is verymobile this leads to tax competition.Efforts to harmonise VAT rules in Europe were a step to limit this tax competitionand base erosion, but still no complete harmonisation of rates and rules took place.The dissertation focuses on the analysis of the VAT reform in the European unionand secondly building upon these findings, discusses the necessity of harmonisationin other areas, especially regarding the labour market rules and tax designs formore income equality.

Christian Kleinertz - Shaping migration flows

Currently the European Union is confronted with two migration flows: on the onehand the free movement of European workers within the Euroepan Union; on theother hand increasing immigration from countries outside the EU. Since immigrationhas become an important part of the political discourse, it seems necessaryto enhance research on these migration flows and the possibilities of shaping themfrom an economic perspective.The research project argues that the effect culturaldiversity has on firm‘s success should differ on it workers‘ occupations and fieldsof task. Diversity should have a stronger effect in occupations that require a lot ofproblem solving and a weaker impact in occupations that rely less on teamworkand collaboration. Revealing heterogeneity between occupations allows to detectthe channels that explain how workplace diversity might affect the firm‘s success.Based on the Linked-Employer-Employee-Dataset (LIAB) the results could provideimplications for immigration systems, arguing that immigration to occupationsthat reveal positive diversity effects might be fostered.

Isabel Staudinger - Conceptualising Conditionality: The EU and the IMF

As a consequence of and reaction to the EU financial and sovereign debt crisisemerging in the late 2000s, several instruments have been created within and outsidethe EU legal order - one of the being the European Stability Mechanism. Oneof the criteria mentioned also in Article 136(3) is strict conditionalty, which is alreadya well-known modus operandi of the EU. Also the IMF applies conditionaltywhen granting benefits. In the financial and sovereign debt crisis the IMF playedan important role, especially in the framework of the troika. The dissertation firstaims to conceptualise conditionality to provide a comprehensive definition, whichis still missing in literature. Furthermore, the EU-IMF relationship in the context ofconditionalty will be analysed, addressing matters of competence, inter-insitutionalintertwinement, substantial aspects as well as limits such as fundamental right obligations.

Sandra Hummelbrunner - The Consistency of European External Action

The Treaty of Lisbon was born by aspirations to enhance the consistency of theUnion‘s external action. Expressions thereof are the integration of the EuropeanCouncil into the unitary framework of the Union, an overall set of principles andobjectives, which apply horizontally to the whole external action of the Union, andthe emphasis on consistency between the different areas of its exteranl action asan essential value of the Union‘s legal order. The thesis proceeds from a broadlydefined horizontal consistency term which requires Union policies and acitivities tonot contradict each other as well as systematic support toward the achievement ofcommon objectives within and accross individual Union policies. The main questionis about the provisions of the current Treaty framework to improve consistencyof European external action and how this framework is implemented in practice.What are the structural and legal obstacles which hamper consistent European externalaction?

Dissertationsthemen 2014-2017

Anita Heindlmaier - Deep Europeanization? Free movement of persons and cross-border access to social benefits within the European Union

The European Union has been engaged in a contentious debate about the free movement of persons within its boundaries and cross-border access to social benefits – bearing in mind the terms “welfare migration” or “social tourism”. The controversial issue concerns the area of tension between the free movement of persons as well as non-discrimination, which are core elements of the European Union, and national welfare services, which are traditionally considered national prerogatives (Everson, 2014; Giubboni, 2014). Over time, European integration, and especially the European Court of Justice, has challenged the national character of social rights. They have become more and more transnational, meaning that EU citizens now have access to certain benefits which were formerly denied. How do Member States react, how do they implement EU law and ECJ case law in practice? Some political scientists have already dealt with legislative reactions to ECJ case law in general, and also with that on EU social citizenship in particular (Blauberger & Schmidt, 2014). However, in order to get an idea about how migrants are affected in the end, it is not sufficient to study only the legislative reactions of Member States. In fact, we have to take the judicial and administrative levels into account as well.

James Wilhelm - EU Issue Voting in National Elections

Do citizens' attitudes towards European integration influence their voting behaviour in national elections? Prior analyses suggest that European integration plays a role similar in strength to 'new politics' issues – immigration, law and order and the environment – in explaining the vote. However, due to a reliance on measures of attitude-vote choice congruence only, prior studies cannot rule out that results are driven by a reverse causal process: citizens' prior vote choice determining their attitude towards European integration (i.e. party following) rather than their European integration attitude determining their vote (i.e. EU issue voting). To attempt to overcome this impasse, I develop a more psychologically realistic account of when EU issue voting is likely to occur than has been undertaken previously. I argue that only voters for whom European integration is most important are potential EU issue voters. This account is supported empirically by showing that citizens for whom an issue is most important are (i) more likely to possess the knowledge necessary to issue vote and (ii) more likely to defect from the party with which they identify when they disagree with it over their most important issue. I apply these insights to European integration issues specifically via two analyses: (i) a descriptive analysis of the number of citizens who name a European issue as most important over time in the UK and Germany and (ii) a survey experiment conducted in Germany and Spain to test the effectiveness of the issues of European integration and immigration in attracting votes – a methodological approach which rules out the possibility that 'party following' influences the findings. With the former showing that the subset of individuals who name European issues as most important is typically amongst the smallest when compared with other issues and the latter demonstrating that an experimental manipulation of the issue positions of parties' immigration issue positions is about twice as effective in affecting the vote intention of respondents as a manipulation of parties' European integration positions – and even more so amongst less politically knowledgeable respondents –, I conclude that European issues typically only play a very modest role in determining voter behaviour in national elections – especially in comparison with the issue of immigration in recent years. Normatively, I contend that while it is arguably bad news for the democratic foundation of the process of European integration that citizens rarely vote on European integration issues directly in national elections, citizens may nevertheless shape the integration process in a way that is consistent with their 'true' European integration preferences indirectly if parties take an appropriate position on European integration on the basis of positions on other issues.

Dominika Majorowski - The European Stability Mechanism- A crisis resolution mechanism

Due to the crisis, several crisis resolution mechanisms were established. Some of them within the EU legal order, such as the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), others were inaugurated outside the EU legal framework, such as the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). The EFSM as well as the EFSF were established only for a period of time and got replaced by the first permanent crisis resolution mechanism, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which was set up outside the EU legal framework. From the time of its inauguration, this crisis resolution mechanism raised several legal questions, which lead to numerous judgments on the national level and finally to a ruling by the CJEU (“Pringle” C-370/12).   This thesis will deal with legal issues regarding the ESM and will focus on questions which were not entirely tackled by the CJEU ruling in “Pringle”. Although, the Court in its judgment “Pringle” decided on various crucial questions, such as the compatibility with Art 125 TFEU, the no- bail- out provision, and the issue of borrowing Institutions, several legal questions remain unaffected. In particular, the issue of the legal basis for Memoranda of Understanding and their legal effect need further discussion and will be analysed in the thesis in depth. Furthermore, the question of whether there would have been a possibility to establish this mechanism within the EU legal framework will be reviewed. This leads us to the obligation to examine the Court ruling “Pringle” in detail, especially in regard to the fact that the ruling does not always seem to be consistent in its argumentation. Furthermore, it has to be outlined that this ruling did not settle the legal discussion once and for all, especially questions regarding the compatibility with the no- bail- out provision, the compatibility with national constitutions and the issue of borrowing of Institutions are until today highly discussed and need a profound examination.

Francesco Galletti - Varieties of Capitalism and the EMU crisis: assessing the domestic adjustment variation

Until the emergence of the crisis little attention was devoted to the issues engendered by the coexistence of different economic models in a single currency area. Both the impact of the EMU on the national varieties and the effects of the constitutive features of any variety in the conceptualization of the EMU itself were overshadowed by convergence-rooted arguments. The research takes the first step from these considerations and – building on Varieties of Capitalism main features and findings – aims to emphasise how both the EMU institutional structure and the crisis affected the capability to adjust owned by any model of capitalism. Consistently with the existing research on the topic (e.g. Hall, 2012; Johnston et al., 2014; Hassel, 2014), countries belonging to the Mixed Market Economies (MMEs) are individuated as the most affected ones. The dissertation addresses the main issues originating from this debate and explicitly targets the link between the MMEs peculiar competitive advantage – namely the gatekeeper role of the state – and the domestic capability to adjust in the EMU institutional framework. In this regard, the labour relations sphere (ICTWSS database) constitutes the crucial analytical field to test the hypotheses.

Hendrik Jungmann-Company Taxation in Europe: Evidence from Microdata

An overall high implicit tax rate on labor is commonly acknowledged within the taxation research community to be detrimental to growth and employment (e.g. Arnold et al., 2011, Feldstein, 2006 and Myles, 2009). This literature suggests that corporate income taxes have the most distortionary effect, followed by labor income taxes, then consumption and finally immovable property taxes. Despite these findings both, a constant upward trend in the tax wedge on labor and a decline use of the more growth-friendly revenue source immovable property can be observed within the EU member states. The revenues from recurrent property taxes remain comparatively low and the valuation of property is outdated in most EU member states. The goal of this dissertation is a simulation of a potential tax shift policy reform, in which at constant property tax rates the taxable base is increased by moving from cadastral values to current market values. The increase in property tax revenue is the potential revenue-neutral scale by which the aggregated tax burden on labor can be reduced. In view of a renewed debate on wealth related taxes in academia and among policy experts, this dissertation is a contribution to a better understanding of the magnitude and distributional consequences of the proposed policy reform.

Dissertationsthemen 2011-2014

Laura Andreea Baroni - Interest Group Influence in the European Parliament

The project examines the factors that explain variation in interest groups’ influence over the European Parliament’s position, based on a sample of 30 legislative proposals. In particular, it analyses the effect of information supply and demand on interest groups’ ability to attain their preferences, as well as the relative importance of technical and political information in this regard. Several methods of assessing preference attainment are applied, including measures derived from spatial representations of actors’ positions and measures based on an analysis of interest groups’ written submissions to the European Parliament.

Cal le Gall - Testing and Comparing Different Explanations in EU-Issue Voting: The Role of the Attribution of Responsibility

The central objective of the dissertation is to test and compare the different explanations for the variation in EU-issue voting. Stated differently, what kinds of voters and under what types of conditions does EU-issue voting increase? Drawing on data from the EES (European Election Studies), I test five major hypotheses with each representing an explanatory strand in the literature. One of the key factors identified is the role of the attribution of responsibility: i.e., the importance a voter attaches to the locus of the decision making (at the EU level versus decisions made at the national level).

Iryna Kristensen - Regional Innovation Policy and Public Private Partnerships

The doctoral research tackles the issue of internal collaborative processes among stakeholders engaged in a partnership work and their role in shaping the innovative processes in the course of cooperation alongside the overall systemic performance of various modes of PPP in different contextual settings.

Jörg Paetzold - Essays on the Political Economy of Labour Market Policies and Taxation in Europe

After decades of welfare state expansion and an era which social scientists as well as labour movement supporters labeled as the Golden Age of Capitalism, this development came to an abrupt halt. Before the end of the last century, changing work and family patterns, increasing economic competition, capital flight and outsourcing, demographic change and the rising demand for flexible labour markets have put the mature welfare states in Europe under strain (see e.g. Esping-Andersen 1999, Scharpf 2000). Since then, a process of welfare state regress has been observable, in which domestic tax and benefit systems in general as well as labour market policies in particular became subject to extensive policy reform efforts over the last decades. Being confronted with relatively similar problem patterns and pressure to reform, the assumption of a cross-national convergence of welfare states has been established (see Iversen and Cusack 2000, Taylor-Gooby 2004). The goal of my dissertation is to use a variety of different social indicators for a broad-based assessment of this convergence assumption, with particular focus on how Europeanization influenced these processes.

Lucia Schulten - Scope and Legal Consequence of the Constitutional Principle of Solidarity in the Law of the European Union - The Individual and unional Solidarity

Based on the observation that solidarity is repeatedly named in the founding Treaties of the European Union, the Thesis asks for the legal meaning of the concept of solidarity at the status quo of European Union Law integration. The research’s focus will be the question, in how far such a concept, if existing, comprises the individual. In order to answer that question an analysis of relevant fields of law, as well as a contribution to the classification of the concept of unional solidarity in legal scholarship will be given.

Erwin Stolz - Welfare states, elderly care and social inequality: A multilevel analysis of 18 European countries

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