Prof. Dr. Markus Gangl
Principal investigator

Markus Gangl is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social Sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, and Honorary Fellow at the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

He works on issues in social stratification, economic inequality, poverty, income dynamics, social mobility, labor markets and careers. A second line of his work is concerns improving statistical methods for the analysis of longitudinal data and the methodology of causal inference in the social sciences more broadly. With the POLAR project, he seeks to bring his longstanding interest in matters of manifest economic inequalities to bear on issues of societal openness and cohesion.

Markus Gangl is an elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), an elected Board member of the ISA Research Committee 28 (Social stratification and mobility), and the current Editor-in-Chief of the European Sociological Review. Prior to directing the POLAR project, Markus Gangl has been the principal investigator for the CORRODE project, which has been addressing the socio-economic repercussions of the Great Recession in Europe and North America.

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Website Goethe University Frankfurt

Dr. Svenja Hense

Svenja Hense works as a postdoctoral researcher at the POLAR project.

As a political scientist, she is mainly responsible for the democratic trust work package. Svenja is especially interested in how different forms of inequality translate into different political attitudes and behavior.

In her doctoral thesis (finished in 2019) she studied whether increasing inequalities at the German labor market led to political differences between people with low and high labor market risks (short answer: no, not really).

Before joining the team in Frankfurt, she worked as a research associate at the Chair for Comparative Political Economy at the University of Osnabrück and at the Chair for Comparative Politics at WWU Münster.

Svenja’s work has appeared in the Journal of European Public Policy and the Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, among others.

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Website Goethe University Frankfurt

Carlotta Giustozzi

Carlotta Giustozzi works as postdoctoral researcher at the POLAR project.

Her thematic focus in the project lies on consequences of economic inequality for social cohesion.

Before working at the POLAR project, she has worked for the ERC project CORRODE, where she focused on the erosion of political trust in the Great Recession analysing how it is shaped by welfare institutions and social policies across Europe and the US.

For her doctoral thesis, she examined how difficulties at the labour market accumulate over time and how they affect social integration and exclusion. She finds that financial difficulties play a negligible role in explaining negative effects of disadvantage while identity, attitudes, and social roles are more influential.

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Website Goethe University Frankfurt

Simon Bienstman

Simon Bienstman is a doctoral researcher at POLAR, where he is primarly working on income inequality and political attitudes.

Simon studied Politics and Administration together with Sociology (B.A.) at the University of Potsdam, as well as Sociology (M.Sc.) and Statistics (M.Sc.) at KU Leuven.

In addition to political attitudes and behavior, his research interests include quantitative methods, social stratification and comparative welfare state research, with a special focus on attitudes towards redistribution and distributive justice.

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Website Goethe University Frankfurt

Elisa Ebertz

Elisa Ebertz has been a student assistant in the POLAR project since October 2020 and is studying Sociology in the Master’s program at Goethe University Frankfurt.

Before that, she studied Social work at the Katholische Stiftungshochschule University of Applied Sciences in Munich.

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