I am a political scientist specializing in the comparative analysis of migration, citizenship, and democracy. I also have a strong interest in the construction and methodology of quantitative indices to compare policies in migration-related areas and in democracy measurement.
I hold a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. My dissertation has received an Honorable Mention for the 2022 Maria Ioannis Baganha Dissertation Award sponsored by the IMISCOE, Europe's largest interdisciplinary research network in the field of migration studies. The main chapter of my dissertation was also recognized as the 2022 Best Graduate Student Conference Paper by the APSA Section on Migration and Citizenship.
I have obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (summa cum laude) and my Master of Arts in World Society and Global Governance (summa cum laude) from the University of Lucerne. In addition, I obtained a Master of Research in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
My research has appeared in the Journal of Common Market Studies, Comparative Migration Studies, Global Policy, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Democratization, and European Political Science. Together with Joachim Blatter and Andrea C. Blättler, I received the JCMS 2017 Best Article Prize for our article "Democratic Deficits in Europe: The Overlooked Exclusiveness of Nation‐States and the Positive Role of the European Union."
I have contributed to the IMPIC Project and the GLOBALCIT Observatory at the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. I am also a co-coordinator of the Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation Standing Committee (MIGCITPOL) of IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe).
Why Inclusive Democracies Do Not Need Closed Borders
Extending my PhD thesis entitled "Do Inclusive Societies Need Closed Borders?", this book presents the first comprehensive analysis of the association between the openness of immigration policies and the inclusiveness of citizenship policies. One of the innovations is to show how nativist politicization does not automatically lead to consistently restrictive trajectories towards simultaneously closed and exclusive boundary regimes. Instead, politicization links immigration and citizenship politics so that they start correlating positively, and the effect of politicization on boundary regime configurations depends further on nativist party power.
Another innovation is that even when nativists have held significant legilsative power in politicized settings they cannot fully suppress the liberalizing tendencies in immigration policies, leading to boundary regime configurations that are exclusive but semi-open. The flipside of this nativist type of boundary politics is cosmpolitan boundary politics: when immigration is politicized but nativist parties are weak, both immigration and citizenship policy are or become more liberal. By contrast, in the absence of boundary politics - when immigration is not politicized and thus immigration-related politics is not only about boundary-making and the expression of national identity in relation to immigration - immigration and citizenship regimes are unrelated. These findings contradict the often-assumed trade-off and alleged negative correlation between immigration openness and citizenship inclusiveness.
Besides sweeping quantitatitive models covering 23 democracies from 1980-2018, the book also presents in-depth process tracing case studies followed by targeted comparitive case studies to further test the hypotheses and mechanisms I propose. Some of these cases are not the usual suspects in the literature but they are key for testing the boundary politics framework given their trajectories in the central variables over time. For instance, I feature New Zealand as a case that is not only key to test the argument but is also illuminating because of the moments in which it combined very open borders with very inclusive citizenship, thus further defying the often-invoked trade-off assumption.
On its deepest level, the book is motivated by this empirical trade-off puzzle, which has its roots in a long-standing normative debate and its implicit assumptions about the relationship between immigrant admission, migrant rights, and the access to citizenship. I use a typology of boundary regimes that bridges normative to empirical analysis, and the findings further inform the normative discourse from an empirical perspective. In doing so, I hope to show how we comparative political science can advance the dialogue between empirical and normative scholarship without sacrificing the scientific rigor of either.
My PhD in Three Minutes
This video introduces some basics of my dissertation. It won the Three Minute PhD Competition at the EUI in 2019. I managed to create some cool infographics, but I suspect that the award was meant mainly to recognize my sophisticated attempts to transform social science concepts into akward gestures.
Enfranchisement regimes beyond de-territorialization and post-nationalism: definitions, implications, and public support for different electorates
Conceptualizes and defines enfranchisment regimes and discusses their implications and shows which regimes are preferred by European electorates
Together with Joachim Blatter and Elie Michel
Global Policy, 2021
Stagnated liberalization, long-term convergence, and index methodology: Three lessons from the CITRIX citizenship policy dataset
Presents the second version of the Citizenship Regime Inclusiveness Index (CITRIX) based on a synthetic approach to index methodology and analyzes policy trends
Comparative Migration Studies, 2020
The architecture of national boundary regimes: mapping immigration and citizenship policies in 23 democracies 1980–2010
Theorizes the structural drivers of immigration policies and citizenship policies and introduces the national boundary regime typology combining the two policy areas
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2020
Restricting immigration to foster migrant integration? A comparative study across 22 European countries
Elaborates and tests the popular assumption that restrictive immigration policies lead to more strict selection and thus helps migrants integrate
Together with Marc Helbling and Stephan Simon
European Political Science, 2019
Non-universal suffrage: measuring electoral inclusion in contemporary democracies
Presents the ELECLAW indicators that can be used to compare electoral rights for all groups of voters across all levels of goverment and types of elections
Together with Lorenzo Piccoli and Jean-Thomas Arrighi
Journal of Common Market Studies, 2017
Democratic Deficits in Europe: The Overlooked Exclusiveness of Nation-States and the Positive Role of the European Union
Shows that EU democracies are too exclusive and that the EU is democracy-enhancing by making them more inclusive
Together with Joachim Blatter and Andrea C. Blättler
Work in Progress
Extending migrants’ rights but limiting long-term settlement:
Migrant integration policy trends in EU and OECD countries between 2010 and 2019
Together with Giacomo Solano and Marc Helbling
Immigration Law: Challenges and Quantitative Solutions
Chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Comparative Immigration Law
Do inclusive democracies need closed borders? The association between immigration and citizenship regimes
on the move:
How safe country policies spread across the globe
Together with Lea Portmann, Frowin Rausis, Joachim Blatter, Philipp Lutz, and Melyssa Sigg
Re-Thinking Migrant Enfranchisement
Together with Joachim Blatter
Which policy mix boosts naturalization most? The interactive effect of immigration and citizenship regimes
Together with Sergi Pardos-Prado
Much of my work uses quantitative indices to investigate the causes and effects of policies that regulate some important lines that divide. I also collect and compile policy data myself and construct new measurement tools. Here you find three original datasets and indices that I have created or helped create.