Dr. Lars Lott

Dr. Lars Lott

Postdoctoral Researcher
Room: Room 4.025

Dr Lars Lott is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Political Science (Professorship of Prof Dr Katrin Kinzelbach) in a joint research project with the V-Dem Institute on “Academic Freedom Index: An Innovative Resource for Research and for Protecting Freedom in the Academic Sector“.

Lars studied political science and public law at Heidelberg University and received his PhD in political science from Heidelberg University in July 2021 for his thesis titled “Rethinking Inequality under Autocracy. Parties, Citizens and Preferences“. His paper-based PhD thesis investigated whether and how the institutional foundations of autocracies determine economic and political inequalities, and whether and how these inequalities affect ordinary citizens in the short and long-term. His work has been published in Democratization, Contemporary Politics, Swiss Political Science Review, Comparative Governance and Politics, among others.

Lars is interested in authoritarian regimes, conceptualization and measurement of regime transformation episodes, political economy of inequalities, and determinants and consequences of academic freedom. Before joining the FAU in February 2022, Lars was research fellow and lecture at Heidelberg University and research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies. Lars’ current publications and his research can be found at his website.


2015 B.A. Political Science and Public Law, Heidelberg University

2017 M.A. Political Science and Public Law, Heidelberg University

2018-2019 Research Fellow German Institute for Global and Area Studies

2019-2022 Research Fellow and Lecture Heidelberg University

2021-2022 Research Fellow German Institute for Global and Area Studies

2022- today Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Political Science, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

2023- today Research Associate, Varieties of Democracy Institute, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Research interests

Academic freedom

Authoritarian regimes

Democratization and autocratization

Political economy of inequality

Measurement of regime transformation episodes


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Lott, Lars (2023). Academic freedom growth and decline episodes. Higher Education. doi:10.1007/s10734-023-01156-z
  • Lott, Lars (2023). Lott, Lars , Croissant, Aurel, & Trinn, Christoph. (2023). The Ambivalent Effect of Autocratization on Domestic Terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2023.2270479
  • Pelke, Lars. (2023). Reanalyzing the Link between Democracy and Economic Development. International Area Studies Review. doi:10.1177/22338659231194945
  • Pelke, Lars. (2023). Academic Freedom and the Onset of Autocratization. Democratization, 30 (6), 1015-1039. doi:10.1080/13510347.2023.2207213
  • Croissant, Aurel & Pelke, Lars. (2022). Measuring Policy Performance, Democracy, and Governance Capacities: A Conceptual and Methodological Assessment of the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI). European Policy Review, 8 (2), 136-159. doi:10.1002/epa2.1141
  • Pelke, Lars. (2021). Party institutionalization, authoritarian regime types andwomen’s political equality. Contemporary Politics, 27 (4), 461-486. doi:10.1080/13569775.2021.1908724.
  • Pelke, Lars & Aurel Croissant (2021). Conceptualizing and Measuring Autocratization Episodes. Swiss Political Science Review, 27 (2), 434-448. doi:10.1111/spsr.12437.
  • Pelke, Lars (2020). Inclusionary regimes, party institutionalization and redistribution under authoritarianism. Democratization, 27 (7), 1301–1323. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1786683.
  • Pelke, Lars (2020). Economic inequality, income, and their effects on electoral and civil society participation in authoritarian regimes. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 14 (4), 269–297. doi:10.1007/s12286-020-00463-4.
  • Pelke, Lars & Friesen, Paul (2019). Democratization Articles Dataset: an introduction. Democratization, 26 (1), 140–160. doi:10.1080/13510347.2018.1504778.
  • Pelke, Lars & Croissant, Aurel (2018). Autokratische Redistribution – Institutionen, Legitimation und die Umverteilung von Einkommen in Nicht-Demokratien. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 12 (3), 509–538. doi:10.1007/s12286-018-0392-y.

Articles in Journals

  • Lott, Lars (2023). Expert:innendaten in der internationalen Menschenrechtsforschung am Beispiel des Academic Freedom Index. Zeitchrift für Menschenrechte. doi:10.46499/2236.2945
  • Korell, Daniel & Reinecke, Niklas & Lott, Lars (2023). Student-Led Replication Studies in Comparative Politics: New findings by fresh eyes? Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft. doi:10.1007/s12286-023-00578-4
  • Kinzelbach, Katrin & Pelke, Lars . (2022). Wie notwendig sind autonome Universitäten? Zum empirischen Zusammenhang der institutionellen und individuellen Wissenschaftsfreiheit. Forschung, 15 (3/4) (2022), 59-66.
  • Pelke, Lars . (2022). Replikation als Lehrinstrument in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Methodenlehre. Der Praxiskurs Datenanalyse und Replikation. HINT – Heidelberg Inspirations for Innovative Teaching, 3 (2022), 117-140. doi:10.11588/hint.2022.1.92855

Articles in Edited Volumes

  • Croissant, Aurel & Pelke, Lars (2023). COVID-19 and Democracy: Creeping Autocratization?. In: Democracy, State-Capacity and the Governance of COVID-19 in Asia and Oceania, eds. Aurel Croissant and Olli Hellmann, London, UK, Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781003362456-3
  • Croissant, Aurel & Pelke, Lars (2021). Democracy and Development in Asia. In: Elgar Research Handbook on Democracy and Development, eds. Gordon Crawford and Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar.

Working Papers

  • Pelke, Lars & Janika Spannagel (2023). Quality Assessment of the Academic Freedom Index: Strengths, Weaknesses, and How Best to Use It. V-Dem Working Papers Series 2023:142 https://v-dem.net/media/publications/wp_142.pdf


  • Katrin Kinzelbach, Staffan I. Lindberg, Pelke, Lars, and Janika Spannagel (2023). Academic Freedom Index 2023 Update. FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and V-Dem Institute. doi:10.25593/opus4-fau-21630
  • Pelke, Lars, Janika Spannagel, and Katrin Kinzelbach (2022). Wissenschaftsfreiheit unter der Lupe: Weltweiter Trend und Mobilität nach und aus Deutschland. In: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Forschung kompakt. doi:10.46685/DAADStudien.2022.11
  • Katrin Kinzelbach, Staffan I. Lindberg, Pelke, Lars, and Janika Spannagel (2022). Academic Freedom Index 2022 Update. FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and V-Dem Institute. doi:10.25593/opus4-fau-18612
  • Book Reviews and Datasets

    • Pelke, Lars (2022). Book review of “Property without Rights. Origins and Consequences of the Property Rights Gap”, by Michael Albertus. Cambridge University Press. 2021 Democratization. Online First doi:10.1080/13510347.2021.2019220.
    • Pelke, Lars (2021). Book review of “Varieties of Democracy: Measuring Two Centuries of Political Change”, by Michael Coppedge et al. Democratization, 28 (1), 258–259. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1729746.
    • Pelke, Lars (2020). Book review of “When soldiers rebel”, by Kristin A. Harkness. Democratization, 26 (5), 890–892. doi:10.1080/13510347.2019.1569630.
    • Pelke, Lars & Friesen, Paul (2018). Democratization Articles Dataset. Harvard Dataverse, Version 1. doi:10.7910/DVN/GJIADC.