Philip Leifeld


I am a political scientist with a dual affiliation at Eawag (the water research institute of ETH domain in Zurich) and the University of Bern, Institute of Political Science. At these institutes, I am a senior researcher and member of the Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO) group.

My previous affiliations include the University of Konstanz (Zukunftskolleg and Department of Politics and Public Administration), the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

My research is mainly about political networks. I have published extensively on environmental policy networks, policy debates, and network methodology. In particular, I have analyzed information exchange, reputation formation, and the role of policy forums in policy networks.

With regard to political methodology, I have developed and implemented new techniques for inferential network analysis, including dynamic extensions of the exponential random graph model (ERGM). I am the author of several software packages, including the Java-based qualitative text analysis package Discourse Network Analyzer (DNA), an R package for inferential network analysis called xergm, and texreg, a widely used R package for the presentation of statistical model output.

I regularly teach in the POLNET summer or fall workshops in Konstanz and the ECPR Winter School for Methods and Techniques in Bamberg. Both are open to external participants. In 2015, I also taught courses on inferential network analysis at the MA and PhD level at the University of Innsbruck, Zeppelin University, the University of Konstanz, and the University of Bern.

Please take a look at my publications, teaching and software pages to learn more.

Recent activities

ECPR Winter School

[2015-09-15] I will teach the course "Inferential Network Analysis" at the ECPR Winter School in Methods and Techniques in Bamberg from February 29 to March 4, 2016. Registration is open now! See the course outline.

New journal article

[2015-07-21] I have published a new paper on policy forums (with Manuel Fischer) in Policy Sciences. The title of the new paper is: "Policy Forums: Why do they Exist and what are they Used for?" We outline a theory on the existence, composition, and size of intermediary organizations like collaborative governance institutions, advisory committees, and corporatist organizations.

Most viewed article

[2015-07-06] My paper in Computational Social Networks on "Polarization of Coalitions in an Agent-Based Model of Political Discourse" has been the most viewed article since the journal's inception in 2013.