Department of Comparative Politics
New Employee

Comparative politics researcher examines diversification of parties

“It is going to be interesting to look at tools for achieving greater political diversity,” says Jana Birke Belschner.

Jana Birke Belschner
Jana Birke Belschner, Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Comparative Politics, UiB, studies whether financial penalties motivate political parties to nominate more women and youths.

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UiB’s Department of Comparative Politics has a new Ph.D. researcher who is studying whether financial penalties motivate political parties to nominate more women and youths.   

Jana Birke Belschner’s dissertation is titled “Pay or adapt? The impact of financial-quota enforcement on political parties' recruitment and nomination practices.”

Belschner will focus on party diversification in Tunisia and, possibly, Ireland.

Her research is part of the project “Money talks: Gendered electoral financing in democratic and democratizing states.” Associate Professor Ragnhild Louise Muriaas leads that project and is Belschner’s supervisor.

Belschner’s Ph.D. will build on her interest in diversity in politics, political representation, and political parties. It will also capitalize on past work she has done as a research assistant with a German institute focused on diversity in politics.

As part of that work, Belschner led a German-Tunisian project directed at the qualification of female candidates for the elections in post-revolutionary Tunisia. She also conducted research on German political parties as crucial actors when it comes to diversity in politics.

According to Belschner, “It is going to be interesting to look more specifically at quotas and financial-sanctioning mechanisms as tools for achieving greater political diversity, both in democratic and democratizing contexts.”

She says she hopes to learn more about why parties decide to adopt rules forpolitical representation, and how they then incorporate those rules into their own institutional logic and routines.

“I am also a member of the German Social Democratic Party and part of a working group on the introduction of gender quotas for German politics,” she notes, “so my research results may well also be of practical-political relevance.”

Belschner was born and raised in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Germany. She earned a B.A. in political science from Otto-Suhr-Institut at Freie Universitaet Berlin in 2010 and an M.A. in European Studies jointly from Europa Universitaet Vidarina and Istanbul Bilgi University in 2012.

In 2015, she moved to Norway when her husband was hired by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

Outside of academia, Belschner devotes her time to learning foreign languages. She has already picked up Norwegian, and speaks six other languages: German, French, English,

Spanish, Turkish and Arabic. She says, however, “I do not speak all of them fluently. Especially Arabic is very hard and I hope I am going to master it one day.”