Doctoral fellow

Last application date
Jul 09, 2021 00:00
PS03 - Department of Political Sciences
Limited duration
Master in political science, sociology, public administration, or in any other field of social sciences with comparable qualifications.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The research group GASPAR ( is looking for a motivated and enthusiast researcher in order to conduct a PhD based on a 4-year research project on Loser’s Consent. Below, you find a short summary of the content of this project:

It is part of the democratic game that every decision creates winners and losers. This is true both for elections as well as individual policy decisions. Losers' consent (i.e. the consent of those who did not get what they wanted) is crucial for the stability of democracy. It implies that even citizens whose personal preferences do not align with the system’s outcome, perceive the system as legitimate, lend basic diffuse support to the system and accept and comply voluntarily with its political decisions. It is consequently essential that all citizens, even the disappointed ones are motivated to accept and comply with the new policies voluntarily.

Despite the importance that is widely attributed to losers’ consent, empirical insights into some of its core assumptions are missing. First, to date, we know little about the mechanisms that cause low levels of losers' consent. Why are losers less inclined to consider the political system and its decisions as legitimate? Second, we do not know to what degree losers are effectively underrepresented in the policies that the political system produces and whether this depends on the political system in which they live. Does losing an election actually mean losing out on policy? Third, while the legitimacy generating potential of alternative decision-making bodies (e.g. citizens assemblies, citizens panels, etc.) and of post-decision justifications has already been demonstrated in the literature, to date we do not know which combination of factors ensures compliance and acceptance among losers. How can losers' consent be strengthened? By investigating these three topics, this project aims to bring original insights into the debate on losers’ consent – a topic that represents a major democratic challenge.

Job profile

  • You hold a Master in political science, sociology, public administration, or in any other field of social sciences with comparable qualifications
  • You think critically, creatively and systematically
  • You are strongly motivated to conduct scientific research
  • You want to write a doctoral dissertation based on this project (including following a PhD Training)
  • You are able to organize and execute this research project autonomously
  • You are familiar with theories and research in the social sciences
  • You are familiar with experimental research methods, or you are willing to improve your knowledge about these methods
  • You are familiar with statistical analysis, or you are willing to improve your knowledge about these methods
  • You obtained excellent study results
  • You possess good English speaking and writing skills
  • You are a team-player, and you are prepared to take up some responsibilities in the GASPAR team
  • You are motivated to participate in international conferences and to publish in international outlets

How to apply

Send us your motivation letter, your CV and an overview of your study results, and an essay (in English) of 1 page where you critically reflect on aspects of the topic at stake here by Friday, 9th of July 2021. All these documents are preferably merged into one PDF-file. This merged file should be sent to Prof. A. Kern (

For more information about the content of the job and/or the project, you can contact also Anna Kern ( ).
Last-year students (graduating in June) are especially encouraged to apply.

Job interviews will be held in the last two weeks of August.