Artificial State Novaland – ERC Grant for Achim Goerres
International recognition for Prof. Achim Goerres: The political scientist from the University Duisburg-Essen (UDE) receives a 2 million Euro Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This will enable him to implement his ambitious POLITSOLID* project over the next five years, which investigates political solidarities in Europe.
„Those who show solidarity are prepared to bear costs for others through state redistribution,“ says Achim Goerres. This attitude is very important for modern democracies. „The results of the study can help us to understand and improve developments on our continent and how we deal with crises, for example economic misery, growing social inequality, responses to waves of immigration or political extremism.
For POLITSOLID, Goerres creates an artificial online state called Novaland. Its citizens are voluntary participants in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Their job is to react towards the things he changes from the outside. „In real politics, change takes place very slowly. In an artificially created state I can manipulate the quality of action and increase tax rates, for example. Then I analyse how and why people react to it,“ he explains. „This empirical review is experimental and new to my field of research.”
The project results will flow into field trials with the City of Duisburg. The aim is to better orient political processes and decisions to the citizens. This would increase both their satisfaction and their willingness to support redistribution for others. How this results in more political solidarity in one’s own country is shown, for example, by the support of the Scandinavians for their well-functioning welfare states, said Goerres. He also plans to conduct surveys in six different European states: Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Sweden.
Goerres’ studies always revolve around individuals and politics. He describes himself as a researcher of humans. „What fascinates me is what motivates someone to do or not do certain things. Sometimes people seem to act politically out of clear material self-interest, sometimes selflessly or for other reasons. Why this is so, is my job to find out.“
The ERC promotes high-quality research in Europe and the pioneering work of science in all fields. The Consolidator Grant is aimed at established top scientists who already have excellent research to show for themselves. It is the first of its kind for the UDE and the sixth ERC Grant in total.
* POLITSOLID. The Ties that Bind: Experimental Analyses of Political Solidarities in Modern European Democracies
Editor: Alexandra Niessen, tel. +49 203/37 9-1487, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Achim Goerres, Empirical Political Science, tel. +49 203/37 9-3615, email@example.com