New study on conspiracy beliefs concerning the war in Ukraine and devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees in Germany is available.

Here are the five main findings:

1) While majority (74%) of the labor force in 🇩🇪 opposes conspiracy beliefs, ~10-20% agree to the statements. Prevalence of devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees in 🇩🇪 are not negligible and temper the picture of the sheerly positive German welcoming culture toward Ukrainians.

Charts show the agreement to the items.
conspiracy beliefs:
11% agree to “the war in Ukraine only serves to distract from the pandemic”.
19% agree to “the war in Ukraine is exactly as dramatized as the pandemic”
devaluations toward Ukrainian Refugees:
38% agree to “we cannot receive even more Refugees in Germany”.
35% do not agree to “Germany should be generous when it comes to receiving Refugees from Ukraine”.
28% agree to “Ukrainian Refugees have to wait in line here in Germany”

2) Conspiracy beliefs appear as pretty open for right-wing content in Germany. Majority of those sharing conspiracy beliefs agree to devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees. Only 4% of respondents sharing conspiracy beliefs do *not* agree to the devaluations.

The top bar shows the distribution of devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees among all respondents: 17% agree to the devaluations. The lowest bar shows the distribution of devaluations among respondens who share conspiracy beliefs: here the agreement rate is 52%.

3) Agreement is higher among the disadvantaged labor force (low income, educational-level) – particularly among the young, (male) disadvantaged.* Experiences of powerlessness & alienation here relevant.

*latter should be interpreted with caution due to small sample sizes.

Chart shows distributions of conspiracy beliefs (top) and devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees (bottom).
The respective bar at the top always displays the distribution among all respondents: 9% agree to conspiracy beliefs; 17% to devaluations. Below displayed are the distributions among specific socio-demographic characteristics: “jung” = young; “geringverdienend” = low income; “geringe Schulbildung” = low educational level;
Agreement among young & low educational level (“jung und geringe Schulbildung”): conspiracy beliefs 26%, devaluations 30%

4) Majority of those sharing conspiracy beliefs about the war in 🇺🇦 also shared pandemic-related conspiracy beliefs earlier. Shows how exchangeable & adaptable the content of conspiracies is. Also: here much more often uncooperative behaviors during pandemic (vax…)

30% of those who agreed 1,5 years ago to “I can imagine that behind the pandemic is an elite that tries to create a new world order” now agree to conspiracy beliefs about the Ukraine war (all respondents: 9%).
31% of the unvaxxed respondents (in January ´22) agree now to the conspiracy beliefs about the Ukraine war. (9% among all respondents; 5% among “boostered” respondents).
22% of those respondents who assessed 2 years ago the protection measures against the virus as unjustified now agree to the conspiracy beliefs aout the Ukraine war. (all respondents: 9%)

5) financial and job worries, as well as political alienation – both recently much more widespread in Germany – are also highly relevant. In crises such as this one, insecurities and lack of trust are particularly potent.

agreement among respondents with worries about their job security: conspiracy beliefs 21%, devaluations: 28% (all respondents: 9% and 17%)
agreement among respondents with worries about their career perspectives: conspiracy beliefs 18%, devaluations: 31% (all respondents: 9% and 17%)

These findings should raise awareness for the threat of further destabilization processes. It becomes obvious how compatible and attractive conspiracy beliefs can become and how quickly solidarity is revoked, when financial securities begin to sway.

The findings also show relatively small but in their attitudes highly solid clientele that has most widely turned its back on democratic discourses, with great distrust in societal institutions and that predominantly behaved uncooperatively during the pandemic.

Data: The data is from the @boeckler_de-labor-force-study, a panel-study that repeatedly surveyed 6.000-7.500 respondents (labor-force >16 years). The first survey took place in April ´20. Most of the findings presented here are from the latest 8th wave surveyed in Apr/May´22.

You can download the full German report here:


New paper published on explaining when older persons are perceived as a burden

The paper in a nutshell: we have previously developed a concept we called “marketized mentality” (or “MM”) that depicts a strong personal commitment to the principal values associated with the market economy.

In our prior studies, we found that people with MM are more likely to devaluate groups such as the unemployed, the homeless, persons with disabilities, but also immigrants because such persons are readily stigmatized as being “unprofitable”. We now wanted to test, whether such a mechanism also holds true for the phenomenon of ageism (i.e. the devaluation of older persons) with a specific interest in the perception of older persons as burdensome. We made use of World Values Survey data of individuals from 59 countries.

We find that individuals exhibiting MM – a mentality characterized by a dominance of egoistic, market values at the expense of moral solidarity – are particularly likely to perceive older persons as burdensome. Moreover, we consider country characteristics and find that countries where MM is widespread are associated with high levels of ageism, too. Other important predictors: a low share of older people and fast ageing countries, stressing the importance of favorable in-gorup-out-group constellations as well as of pressures of demographic aging that amplify the perception of older populations as being burdensome.

MM appers useful for explaining both individual-level and country-level variation in the perception that older persons are a burden to society. The results also suggest that MM serves as a devaluation mechanism that operates in a similar manner across different target groups.

Here´s my twitter-Thread on the paper:

Our new findings of the labor-force-panel paint picture of highly unsettled society

With the latest wave of the HBS-labor-force-panel (data from April ´22), we analyzed the worries and burdens in a time of pandemic, war in Ukraine and record inflation. The findings are summarized in this Twitter-Thread:

New findings of the labor-force-panel: mothers´ situation particularly worrisome

We analyzed the latest wave of the HBS-labor-force-panel and published our findings. In short: while securing and protecting the financial situation of most of the working force worked rather well in Germany, ensuring and supporting the care-work is largely lacking at the cost of mothers. They feel exhausted and let down.

Mothers report particularly high and recently again rising strain in several branches of life. They report the highest rates of worry about the societal situation, for example the worry about social cohesion.

We see an incredible amount of loss of trust among mothers: 78% report that they are unsatisfied with the crisis handling of the federal government – a record low during the pandemic.

Many among them do not feel sufficiently protected from the virus amidst record incidences among children. The worry about infection rose considerably again among mothers.

The insufficient protection of care work during the pandemic led to a privatization of care work. And who covers? Recently again the mothers. While during the first lockdown also the fathers took responsibility here, this was only a temporary phenomenon. Since then the share of mothers who take the main part of the care work rose constantly.

Finally, mothers report more often reduction of working hours as a result of the often very last-minute lack of public care. Every fifth mother reports a reduction of working hours to take care of her children. Only during the first strict lockdown, we saw higher values.

Here´s the full press release (only German):

Here´s a Twitter thread about the findings (in German):

Podcast on Transformation attitudes

Together with Bettina Kohlrausch and Marco Herack, I had the chance to talk about our study on attitudes to transformation, such as digitalization and socioecological transformation in the Systemrelevant-Podcast of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation (unfortunately, only German). Thank you, that was big fun.

Here are helpful visualizations of the findings that I present in the podcast:


Study on impact of work and transformation on illiberal-authoritarian anti-democratic attitudes in Germany now published in English

We translated and published our study on anti-democratic attitudes now as a WSI-Policy Brief. The study shows what an enormous Herculean task the pressing future challenges of digitalization and socioecological transformation represent and how big the potential for further societal polarization lies dormant in them. It becomes clear that the socially deprived in Germany experience transformation processes as greater threat and are in greater opposition than those with sufficient resources. Transformation processes harbor the danger of further societal polarization resulting in more prevalent anti-democratic attitudes.

Here´s a comprehensive summary of some of the main findings in a Twitter Thread:

The full study can be downloaded here:


New Study on Covid-Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths with German Panel data

Today I published a new study that analyzed the HBS-working force panel regarding Covid-Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths (N=5.047). Here are the four main findings:

Covid Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths remain widespread in Germany in Summer 2021 – regardless of lower Covid-incidences or lower protests: 18% of the German workforce with agreement to all items. Agreement is rather rising than decreasing compared to earlier timepoints in the pandemic.

The items of Covid Skepticism and harsh Conspiracy Myths are very highly correlated: respondents sharing skepticism in most cases also agree to Conspiracy Myths – only a few differentiate between the items.

Several groups with above-average agreement (interestingly these groups are very stable: the same groups with above-average agreement last summer) 1. The Deprived (low income or low education): increased powerlessness; 2. The financially Burdened during the Crisis (massive loss of control); 3. The Younger (who perceive lower Covid health threats while suffering everyday hardship); 4. Those spared by the virus (here it´s easier to maintain myth of harmless virus) and 5. Respondents in Eastern Germany (who report a much higher distrust in political institutions).

Conspiracy Myths pose a signfificant threat to democratic societies as they have problematic behavior implications: 1. Those agreeing to Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths with very low commitment to established German parties; they predominantly vote for the right-wing populist AfD or do not vote at all. 2. They report much more frequently reckless and rule-violating pandemic behavior. 3. They very frequently have not been vaccinated yet and do not intent to.

The full study can be downloaded here. Here is the press release.

New study on impact of work and transformation on anti-democratic attitudes

The first study of my main project at Hans-Böckler-Foundation (together with Dorothea Voss & Bettina Kohlrausch) has been published. We analyzed how “soziale Lebenslagen”, work and especially Transformation is related to anti-democratic attitudes, i.e. right-wing populist attitudes and Group-focused Enmity. We could find that particularly deprived persons and persons with anomic disorientation share those anti-democratic attitudes. Persons integrated in the working force agrees to a lesser extent than retirees or unemployed persons. But more important than the sheer integration in the job market are the working conditions that show effects on the approval of anti-democratic attitudes. Finally, whether respondents are well positioned for the upcoming huge transformational challenges of digitalization and climate change is closely related to anti-democratic attitudes. They constitute enormous challenges for maintaining the democratic integration of many persons facing substantial upheavals.

Here are three threads with several figures:

A short overview:

detailed findings on the role of life circumstances and work:

detailed findings on the role of transformation:

The full study can be downloaded here. The press release can be downloaded here.


New analyses on vaccination status and willingness among German working force

I reanalyzed the last wave of HBS´s working force panel (from July 2021) to see where there´s still potential for Germany´s sluggish vaccination campaign. I could find that several demographics are related to the vaccination status and willingness: deprived persons (income or education), younger persons or immigrants haven´t been reached by the campaign sufficiently. Moreover, there is a considerable share of vaccination opponents among Eastern Germans. Most promblematically: anti-vaxxers show more risky behavior, less adherence of the Corona-precautionary measures and are less afraid of infecting themselves or others. Moreover, they are not reached by the democratic parties – their main voting preference is the right-wing populist AfD or they are nonvoters. Here are the main results in a thread with figures:

Stresses and strains of parents during pandemic in Deutschlandfunk-interview

Today, I was invited to the 90 minutes German live radio show “Lebenszeit” of Deutschlandfunk (@DLF) on “endurancetest pandemic”. I presented our findings on how parents got throught the pandemic and also had the chance to share some personal stories. Find the whole interview here. Here´s the link to the study I presented.