Felix Hartmann

Felix Hartmann

Department of International Economics, Government and Business
Copenhagen Business School

Curriculum Vitae

My research is focused on comparative politics, political economy, and political behaviour in low and high income democracies. My research seeks to understand how to design governance systems to improve public welfare. I combine experiments, large-scale datasets, and fieldwork to quantify and understand:


  1. F. Hartmann, M. Humphreys, F. Geißler, H. Klüver, J. Giesecke. (2023). Trading Liberties: Estimating COVID-19 Policy Preferences from Conjoint Data. Political Analysis, 0, 1–9 [Replication Data] [Preprint] [Pre-Analysis Plan] Media:
  2. Abstract Survey experiments are an important tool to measure policy preferences. Researchers often rely on the random assignment of policy attribute levels to estimate different types of average marginal effects. Yet, researchers are often interested in how respondents trade-off different policy dimensions. We use a conjoint experiment administered to more than 10,000 respondents in Germany, to study preferences over personal freedoms and public welfare during the COVID-19 crisis. Using a pre-registered structural model, we estimate policy ideal points and indifference curves to assess the conditions under which citizens are willing to sacrifice freedoms in the interest of public well-being. We document broad willingness to accept restrictions on rights alongside sharp heterogeneity with respect to vaccination status. The majority of citizens are vaccinated and strongly support limitations on freedoms in response to extreme conditions—especially, when they vaccinated themselves are exempted from these limitations. The unvaccinated minority prefers no restrictions on freedoms regardless of the severity of the pandemic. These policy packages also matter for reported trust in government, in opposite ways for vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens.
  3. F. Geissler , F. Hartmann, M. Humphreys, H. Klüver, J. Giesecke. (2022). Public support for global vaccine sharing in the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Germany. PLoS ONE, 17 (12). [Replication Data] [Pre-Analysis Plan] Media: Tagesspiegel
  4. Abstract By September 2021 an estimated 32% of the global population was fully vaccinated for COVID-19 but the global distribution of vaccines was extremely unequal, with 72% or more vaccinated in the ten countries with the highest vaccination rates and less than 2% in the ten countries with the lowest vaccination rates. Given that governments need to secure public support for investments in global vaccine sharing, it is important to understand the levels and drivers of public support for international vaccine solidarity. Using a factorial experiment administered to more than 10,000 online survey respondents in Germany in 2021, we demonstrate that the majority of German citizens are against global inequalities in vaccine distribution. Respondents are supportive of substantive funding amounts, on the order of the most generous contributions provided to date, though still below amounts that are likely needed for a successful global campaign. Public preferences appear largely to be driven by intrinsic concern for the welfare of global populations though are in part explained by material considerations—particularly risks of continued health threats from a failure to vaccinate globally. Strategic considerations are of more limited importance in shaping public opinion; in particular we see no evidence for free riding on contributions by other states. Finally, drawing on an additional survey experiment, we show that there is scope to use information campaigns highlighting international health externalities to augment public support for global campaigns.
  5. H. Klüver, F. Hartmann, M. Humphreys, F. Geißler, J. Giesecke. (2021). Incentives Can Spur Covid-19 Vaccination Uptake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 118 (36). [Replication Data] [Preprint] [Pre-Analysis Plan] Media: Spiegel, Sunday Times, Deutschlandfunk, RBB
  6. Abstract Recent evidence suggests that vaccination hesitancy is too high in many countries to sustainably contain COVID-19. Using a factorial survey experiment administered to 20,500 online respondents in Germany, we assess the effectiveness of three strategies to increase vaccine uptake, namely, providing freedoms, financial remuneration, and vaccination at local doctors. Our results suggest that all three strategies can increase vaccination uptake on the order of two to three percentage points (PP) overall and five PP among the undecided. The combined effects could be as high as 13 PP for this group. The returns from different strategies vary across age groups, however, with older cohorts more responsive to local access and younger cohorts most responsive to enhanced freedoms for vaccinated citizens.
  7. G Xezonakis, F. Hartmann. (2020). Economic Downturns and the Greek Referendum of 2015: Evidence using Night-Time Light Data. European Union Politics, 21 (3): 361-382. [Replication Data] [Online Appendix]
  8. Abstract Much like Brexit, the Greek bailout referendum of 2015 could have been a watershed event that significantly affected the European Economic and Monetary Union and possibly the European Union as a whole. While the referendum did not live up to the hype, the fact remains that the Greek people decided to risk ‘exit’ and reject their international creditors’ bailout terms. In this article, we explore how the cycle of sovereign debt crisis, the externally imposed austerity and the resulting recession affected the outcome of that referendum. We further provide a limited test for the ‘left-behind’ hypothesis, which has been a prominent explanation for recent ‘unexpected’ or ‘surprising’ choices that have been made at the polls. Using municipality data and novel data sources, such as night-time light transmission, we provide aggregate-level support for our expectations.

Working papers

  1. Do Voters Prefer Relief Over Prevention? Evidence from Preferences for Disaster Policies. Working Paper [Pre-Analysis Plan]  
  2. Abstract Growing evidence suggests that voters reward politicians for disaster relief but not for prevention. Yet, there is little consensus on the mechanisms that underpin this pattern. This paper begins to fill this gap by exploring how voter expectations and income losses shape the demand for relief and prevention. I argue that voters have more pessimistic expectations about the welfare returns from prevention policies compared to relief policies. Additionally, income losses due to disasters can induce a demand for relief. I test both mechanisms using a conjoint experiment in rural Malawi where participants choose between two hypothetical candidates randomly varying attributes about prevention and relief policies. I find that voters do value relief efforts over prevention efforts when outcomes are uncertain. When prevention policies are known to be effective, voters value them similarly to effective relief policies. However, respondents who have suffered economic losses are more likely to reward effective relief.
  3. The Politics of Implementation: Public Goods Provision and Incumbent Voting. Working Paper
  4. Abstract This article introduces a new explanation for when voters reward and punish politicians for government performance. I argue that the involvement of incumbents in policy implementation shape electoral results because it allows voters to learn about their quality. Politicians have an incentive to get involved in implementation because they can signal their quality to voters but they also risk electoral losses if they do not preform well during implementation. I test this argument leveraging a natural field experiment in the Philippines where municipalities were randomly assigned to a public goods policy and villages within treatment municipalities could apply for projects. On average, village politicians in treatment municipalities have a 3% lower re-election rate compared to the control municipalities. The negative effects are driven by villages where local politicians did not apply for projects or failed to secure funding. If villages received funding, village mayors saw an 5% increase in re-election rates compared to the control group.
  5. Compromise under Pressure: Electoral Competition, Divided Government and Public Goods Provision. Working Paper  
  6. Abstract A growing literature from developing democracies finds that electoral competition can have a negative effect on public service provision. However, the mechanisms are not well understood. I argue that electoral competition leads to divided government, which can amplify electoral incentives for broad programmatic goods and mute incentives for targeted goods. Under divided government, both parties want to distribute goods to different constituencies compared to one constituency under unified government. Thus, parties have the incentive to agree on broad programmatic goods that are distributed to all constituencies, but to disagree on goods that are targeted to specific constituencies. The paper tests the proposition in the Philippines using a novel regression-discontinuity design exploiting the fact that different branches of the local government are elected in separate first-past-the past elections. I show that divided government increased broad welfare transfers and reduced targeted education spending, but only if both politicians faced strong electoral competition.
  7. F. Hartmann. (2022). Exploring Effect Heterogeneity in Meta-Analyses using Bayesian Rule Sets. Working Paper
  8. Abstract Researchers conducting meta-analyses often collect data on multiple moderators to explore effect heterogeniety using meta-regressions. However, if the number of studies is small, meta-regressions lack the sufficient power to investigate interactions between moderators and results are difficult to interpret, especially high-order interactions. To overcome these problems, I use Bayesian Rule Sets (BRS) to explore effect sign heterogenity. BRS is an machine learning algorithm that classifies observations using rule sets, which are conditions that classify data using an `IF-THEN` statements. While the nonlinear relationships derived from BRS are descriptive and not causal, they can motivate causal exploration. I document the utility of the approach using a small N meta-analysis.

Ongoing work

  1. Balancing Incentives: How Political Connections Shape Corruption in Public Procurement with N. Ravanilla
  2. How to Combat Populism? with H. Klüver, P. Schleiter, L. Stötzer, J. Giesecke, F Geißler,
  3. Political Disclosure and Electoral Selection. with H. Klüver, J. Stuckatz, K. Schnapp
  4. Who Becomes a Lobbyist? with J. Stuckatz, H. Klüver, K. Schnapp
  5. The Electoral Effects of Public Service Provision. A Meta-Analysis. with W. Sandholtz


Causal Inference and Machine Learning (HU, Fall 2021).

Applied Causal Inference with R (HU, Fall 2020, Spring 2021).

Electoral Accountability (HU, Spring 2021).

Research Design and Quantitative Methods (GU, Graduate Teaching Assistant, 2017, 2018, 2019).


The Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) Malawi Truncated Dataset. (with Ellen Lust, Adam Harris, Kristen Kao, Pierre F. Landry, Boniface Dulani, Atusaye Zgambo, Asiyati Chiweza, Happy Kayuni, Ragnhild L. Muriaas, Lise Rakner, Vibeke Wang, Lindsay Benstead, and Sebastian Nickel) Program on Governance and Local Development 2017.

The QoG Expert Survey Dataset II. (with Carl Dahlström, Jan Teorell, Stefan Dahlberg, Annika Lindberg, and Marina Nistotskaya) The Quality of Government Institute 2015.