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The institutions and political inequality research unit focuses on the political economy of social and political inequality.


Our research is concentrated in four clusters: horizontal contestation, vertical linkages, exclusion, and elite connections. These clusters derive broadly from a focus on two types of social division: horizontal divisions between identity groups, and vertical divisions between those that have more or less access to political power.

  • Work in the vertical linkages cluster focuses on the ways that citizens can exercise control over political elites, and how elites in turn act to represent, influence, or repress citizens.
  • Work in the horizontal contestation cluster focuses on between-group divisions, the effects of such divisions, and on strategies to best address horizontal divisions.
  • The political exclusion cluster focuses on responses to exclusion from political power include protest and violence, but also fleeing and hiding.
  • The elite connections cluster focuses on the ways that political power is concentrated and how economic inequality translates into political inequality.

Marion Obermaier
fon +49 (0)30 25491-301
Müge Yerdenler
fon +49 (0)30 25491-389
Luisa Wöllner
fon +49 (0)30 25491-549

mail: [at]

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin

Brownbag Series

Upcoming events:

November 21:
Oliver Decker (University of Leipzig)
November 28:
Andreas Kotsadam (Frisch Centre & University of Oslo)
December 12:
Amel Ahmed (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
December 19:
Yuequan Guo (WZB)


Schedule Brown Bag Seminar Series Fall/Winter 2023


The research unit cooperates with the DENeB: the Berlin Development Economics Network.