Renewed Success: GIGA Researcher Wins this Year’s Leibniz Dissertation Award

For the second time, a young researcher from the GIGA receives the Leibniz Dissertation Award.

  • Dr. Felix Haaß, Research Fellow and graduate of the GIGA Doctoral Programme, is the recipient of the Leibniz Dissertation Award for his outstanding doctoral thesis on the influence of development aid on democratisation processes in post-conflict societies. This is the second award of its kind for a young GIGA researcher, after Julia Strasheim became the first GIGA researcher to receive the prestigious award in 2017. These great successes of its young scientists also confirm the work of our Doctoral Programme.

    In his dissertation “Buying Democracy? The Political Economy of Foreign Aid, Power-Sharing Governments, and Post-Conflict Political Development,” Haaß examines the influence of development projects on the emergence of democratic institutions in the wake of civil wars. He showed that in countries dependent on development aid with coalition governments made up of the former civil war parties, democratic elections are often held quickly. However the old elites try other methods to prevent their loss of power, such as restricting the independence of the judiciary or favouring particular interest groups. In his work, Haaß highlights the ambivalent effects of power-sharing and the unintended consequences of development aid measures that promote democracy. As a possible way out, Haaß outlines the vital need to promote civil society programmes in order to anchor responsibility for the democratisation process as broadly as possible in society.

    Haaß’s doctoral thesis was prepared within the framework of the project “Institutions for Sustainable Peace – Comparing Institutional Options for Divided Societies and Post-Conflict Countries," which was acquired by the GIGA and funded by the Leibniz Association. In addition to the Leibniz Dissertation Award, Haaß also received the third junior researcher prize (2018) of the German Economic Association Verein für Socialpolitik and the KfW Development Bank, as well as the doctoral prize of the University of Greifswal (in 2018) for his outstanding research.

    Haaß is currently engaged in the DFG project “The Anatomy of Repression in Authoritarian States – Micro-Level Analyses of the Security Forces of the Former German Democratic Republic,” taking place at the GIGA.

    The Leibniz Dissertation Award is granted annually for the best doctoral theses from Leibniz Institutes in the categories “Humanities and Social Sciences” and “Natural and Technical Sciences.” In addition to an outstanding evaluation, the award-winning works must be distinguished by their interdisciplinary significance, real-world application and relevance, as well as by publication in specialist journals or presentation at specialist conferences. The endowment for each award is EUR 3,000. The winners are selected by an 11-member Leibniz Prize jury, consisting of public figures and leading scientists and chaired by Leibniz President Matthias Kleiner, from the proposals of the scientific sections of the Leibniz Association.

    Press Release of the Leibniz Association on the Leibniz Dissertation Award 2019


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