Thomas Koenig

  • Professor of Political Science, University of Mannheim

University of Mannheim
PBox 103462
D-68131 Mannheim


Thomas König has the chair for international relations and is co-director of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Before, he was professor at the German University Speyer and at the University of Konstanz. For his research, he was nominated for the Descartes Research Prize of the European Union and the Harrison Prize, received the Fulbright chair at Washington University St. Louis and the Karl W. Deutsch professorship at the Wissenschaftscentre Berlin, and was Marie Curie- and Heisenberg Fellow of the German National Science Foundation. König’s publications include the major scholarly journals and a variety of topics. He collaborated with a large number of scholars, including Chris Achen, Thomas Bräuninger, Ken Benoit, Daniel Finke, Simon Hug, Dirk Junge, Michael Laver, Brooke Luetgert, Bernd Luig, Lars Mäder, Sven-Oliver Proksch, Gerald Schneider, Jonathan Slapin, Heiner Schulz, Frans Stokman, Robert Thomson, Vera Tröger, George Tsebelis – just to name a few.

In his early publications in the 1990s, he studied the influence of interest groups on labor and social legislation in Germany, USA and Japan using network analysis and exchange theory. With Franz Urban Pappi and David Knoke he gathered data and extended the Coleman exchange model for modeling the institutionalized access of interest groups to political decision makers. Using spatial analysis, he also studied legislative gridlock in Germany in this period. From the mid-1990s, König devoted more attention to European integration by gathering data on EU constitutional, legislative and implementation politics. Today, König established a historical archive on EU politics containing all constitutional, legislative and implementation activities since the mid-1980s. For Germany, he also collected legislative data since the 1950s. These two topics – German and European politics – are dominating his further work, which is about the estimation of actors’ preferences. Regarding the European Union, König tested rivalry approaches on the power of the European Parliament, the impact of enlargements on Council decision making and the strategies of member states when they attempted to revise the institutional framework of the EU. In the beginning of the 2000s, he directed the DOSEI project and investigated the constitution-building process of the EU. Following, he studied the implementation process of EC directives and the power of the European Court of Justice.

All these data is used to evaluate the empirical implications of game-theoretical models with some focus on the analysis of Germany and European integration, including the constitutional, legislative and compliance level. In this regard, König also established the first EITM summer institute in Europe training young scholars in order to use sophisticated techniques for the study of politics. Recent publications include "Troubles with Transposition: Explaining Trends in Member State Notification Failure and Timelines", British Journal of Political Science 2009 (with Brooke Luetgert), "Why don’t veto players use their power?", European Union Politics 2009, "Why do member states empower the European Parliament?", Journal of European Public Policy 2008, "Bicameral Conflict Resolution in the European Union. An Empirical Analysis of Conciliation Committee Bargains", British Journal of Political Science 2007 (with Lindberg, Lechner and Pohlmeier).

Professor König was a Visiting Scholar at The Europe Center and at the Hoover Institution during Fall 2009.