Ph(inishe)D: Congratulations Dr. Reinl!
Our colleague Ann-Kathrin Reinl successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and was awarded with the degree of Doctor of Management, Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Cologne with distinction (summa cum laude). Congratulations, Ann-Kathrin!
The cumulative doctoral dissertation titled "Transnational Solidarity in Times of Crises" investigates transnational solidarity in times of crises in the context of the European Union (EU). In three original articles, the dissertation analyses transnational solidarity based on survey data and sheds light on varying conceptual, state and stakeholder perspectives, which have remained unexplored in previous research. The first paper investigates a two-dimensional concept of transnational solidarity derived from the literature on national welfare states differentiating between risk-sharing and redistribution. Despite diverse levels of transnational solidarity in EU member states, citizens share a similar understanding of the overall concept. Two subsequent papers then build on this conceptual comparability and refer to the identified risk-sharing dimension during the European Sovereign Debt Crisis. The second paper examines the willingness of voters from a debt-ridden state to accept crisis bailout conditions, whereas the third paper studies politicians’ perspectives on granting such monetary bailout. For both studies, Ann-Kathrin finds that individual citizens’ socio-economic attitudes as well as attitudes towards the EU matter. Moreover, the economic and information contexts individuals find themselves in play a direct and moderating role. These findings are in line with previous studies on support for EU-wide financial assistance in the broader EU population.
Overall, voters and political elites from states in different crisis roles seem to base their preferences for transnational solidarity on similar considerations. This can be interpreted as a positive signal for further European integration and democratic representation alike. The findings of Ann-Kathrin’s cumulative dissertation are manifold and make important contributions to hitherto unexplored gaps in the literature. Firstly, the insights gained contribute to a more sophisticated conceptualization of transnational solidarity and demonstrate that citizens’ understanding of the concept indeed is comparable between the EU countries studied. Secondly, her work sheds light on understudied state and stakeholder perspectives taken during the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, thus contributing to a deeper knowledge of transnational solidarity and underlying motivations at that time. In terms of current political debates, the EU must decide how to jointly tackle current and future EU crises. Turning from a mostly economic community to a union of enacted values requires a common understanding of transnational solidarity as well as comparable mindsets of individuals from diverse state and stakeholder perspectives. Ann-Kathrin’s dissertation supports the existence of both preconditions.