School of Social and Political Science

Jan Eichhorn

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

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Room number

1.03 - 22 George Square

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I am currently Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Chair of the Education Committee for the Social Policy subject area.

I am a researcher interested in how we can enhance and improve different avenues for political participation and challenge orthodox conceptions of socio-economic analyses. I also teach courses and workshops on these matters as well as on (particularly) quantitative research methods. Creating practical applications of my teaching and research work is a major objective for me, which I partially address as Research Director of the think tank d|part. Together with my colleagues Ingela Naumann and Jay Wiggan I co-edit the Journal of Social Policy.

Current research projects

There is space for everyone: Climate crisis messages across the political spectrum (PI): Project funded by the Open Society European Policy Institute, OSEPI (€ 176,000 FEC) in collaboration with d|part to investigate how publics in several countries make sense of the climate crisis and the economic system and how different political actors can engage different parts of the population on the topic. Details can be found here.

Who can participate? (Co-I): Project funded by the Open Society Foundations (€ 140,000) to understand the barriers to political participation of people with different migration biographies in Germany ahead of the 2021 Bundestag elections. Run through d|part, detailed can be found here.

Values in Crisis – a Crisis of Values? Moral Values and Social Orientations under the Imprint of the Corona Pandemic (Co-I): Project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (€ 119,000 FEC) to examine whether and how human values are changing during the pandemic through panel studies in Germany and the UK, together with Jan Delhey (Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg), Franziska Deutsch (Jacobs University Bremen) and further partners. Details can be found here.

Making Votes-at-16 Work: Mobilising young first-time voters in Wales (Co-I): Project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, JRRT (£ 45,400 FEC) to examine the experience of 16-year olds being enfranchised to vote for the first time in Wales, together with Christine Hübner (Nottingham Trent University), Thomas Loughran (University of Liverpool) and Andy Mycock (Huddersfield University).

Research projects completed

French Attitudes on EU enlargement (PI): Project funded by the Open Society European Policy Institute, OSEPI (€ 80,000 FEC) in collaboration with d|part to assess public attitudes in France regarding EU enlargement on the Western Balkans. Details can be found here.

Voices on Values - How European publics and policy makers value an open society (PI): Project funded by the Open Society European Policy Institute, OSEPI (€ 354,000 FEC) in collaboration with d|part, together with an international team, examining challenges to open societies in six European countries. All reports of the project can be accessed on  the project website.

The view from the continent: What people in other member states think about the UK’s EU referendum (PI): ESRC-funded project (£94,000FEC), together with Daniel Kenealy and Christine Hübner (d|part). Results of the project can be accessed here.

Understanding the General Election result in Scotland – a follow up of the 2013/14 SSA (PI): ESRC-funded project (£ 68,000 FEC) (together with Daniel Kenealy and Lindsay Paterson and in collaboration with ScotCen Social Research). Results can be found here.

Public and elite engagement with how the UK is governed (Co-I): ESRC-funded project (£ 119,000 FEC) (together with Lindsay Paterson, Daniel Kenealy and Richard Parry). The results from the research have been compiled in a book published by Palgrave Macmillan: Publics, Elites and Constitutional Change in the UK: A Missed Opportunity?/p>

Young persons’ attitudes on Scotland’s Constitutional Future (PI): ESRC-funded project (£ 125,000 FEC) (together with Lindsay Paterson, John MacInnes and Michael Rosie). Results from the survey are available here.

Understanding views on Scottish Independence using the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2014 (PI): ESRC-funded project (£ 91,000 FEC)  (together with John Curtice, Lindsay Paterson and Susan Reid). Results from the work can be obtained here.

Good Lives And Decent Societies (GLADS) Knowledge Exchange Programme (Co-I): Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded series of knowledge exchange events (£ 17,000) (together with Elke Heins and Neil Thin at the University of Edinburgh and a range of external partners). Details can be found here

Young persons' attitudes on Scottish Independence - A survey analysis of 14-17 year olds (Co-I): ESRC-funded project (£ 183,000 FEC)  with Lindsay Paterson, John MacInnes and Michael Rosie

Understanding views on Scottish Independence - An extension of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (Co-I): ESRC-funded project (£ 197,000 FEC) with Lindsay Paterson, John Curtice and Rachel Ormston

Showcasing Scottish datasets (Co-I): ESRC-funded knowledge exchange and training project (£ 126,000 FEC) with John MacInnes and Susan McVie

Lehren Lecturer Grant for research-led teaching: Project funded by the Lehren Initiative (Euros 6,600 FEC) for a collaboration with Jacobs University Bremen

Academic publications

Eichhorn Jan. 2021. Survey research and sampling. London: Sage Publishing.

Eichhorn, Jan & Bergh, Johannes. 2021. Lowering the Voting Age to 16 in Practice: Processes and Outcomes Compared. Parliamentary Affairs (online pre-print).

Eichhorn, Jan, Kenealy, Daniel, & Hübner, Christine. 2021. Who wants a referendum on EU membership? Exploring public attitudes in six Member StatesJournal of European Integration 43(3): 365-383.

MacLeod, Iain & Eichhorn, Jan. 2020. Youth Politics in Scotland. Participation and Inclusion. In: Keating, M. (Ed). The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eichhorn, Jan & Bergh, Johannes (eds). 2020. Lowering the Voting Age to 16: Learning from Real Experiences Worldwide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2018. Mobilisation through early activation and school engagement – the story from ScotlandJournal of Youth Studies 21(8): 1095-1110.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2018. Votes At 16: New Insights from Scotland on EnfranchisementParliamentary Affairs 71(2): 365-391.

Kenealy, Daniel, Eichhorn, Jan, Parry, Richard, Paterson, Lindsay & Remond, Alexandra. 2017. Publics, Elites and Constitutional Change in the UK: A Missed Opportunity? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Eichhorn, Jan, Hensing, Jakob & Hübner, Christine. 2016. Economic crisis and democratic legitimacy. In: Voicu, M., Mochmann, I. & Dülmer, H. (Eds). Values, Economic Crisis and Democracy. Abingdon, Oxon & New York, NY: Routledge.

Frommholz, Götz & Eichhorn, Jan. 2015. Politische Partizipation - der Stand der Forschung. In: Düber, M., Rohrmann, A. & Windisch, M. (Eds).  Barrierefreie Partizipation. Entwicklungen, Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze auf dem Weg zu einer neuen Kultur der Beteiligung. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa. 

Eichhorn, Jan. 2014. The (Non-)Effect of Unemployment Benefits - Variations in the effect of  unemployment on life-satisfaction between EU countriesSocial Indicators 119(1): 389-404.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2014. Where Happiness Varies: Recalling Adam Smith to Critically Assess the UK Government Project  Measuring National Well-BeingSociological Research Online 19(2) 6.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2014. Newly Enfranchised Voters: Political Attitudes of Under 18-Year Olds in the Context of the Referendum on Scotland’s Constitutional Future.Scottish Affairs 23(3): 342-353.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2013. Unemployment needs context: How societal differences between countries moderate the loss in life-satisfaction for the unemployed. Journal of Happiness Studies 14(6): 1657-1680.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2012. Happiness for Believers. Contextualising the Effects of Religiosity on Life-SatisfactionEuropean Sociological Review. 28(5):583-593.

Eichhorn, Jan. 2012. Context matters: The effect of national-level factors on the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics of individuals and their life-satisfaction. World Values Research 5(2): 27-48.

Dissemination activities

I have engaged in a wide range of dissemination activities to enhance the reach of our work. This has involved developing and running a variety of training courses, often through the Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN). In addition, I have commented on issues relating to political participation and wellbeing for several UK and international media outlets, including, for example, the Guardian, the Independent, the BBC (through programmes such as Newsnight, Scotland 2014 and Sunday Politics Scotland as well as several radio shows and documentaries) and Skynews, Germany's ZDF (Heute Journal, Heute in Europa, ZDF Spezial), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Deutschlandfunk, France's Le Monde and France 24, Switzerland's Neue Zürcher Zeitung and SRF, as well as outlets such as CNN, Washington Post or the Globe and Mail. In addition to giving talks at many public events for a variety of organisations, I have also provided briefings/evidence for parts of different politicial bodies, including the Scottish and UK parliaments, the German government and the Scottish and UK governments.


Courses I currently convene:

  • Rethinking Economics and the Financial Crisis (1st/2nd year UG)
  • Economic Issues in Public Policy (MSc)

Courses I teach modules on:

  • Evidence, Politics and Policy (2nd year UG)
  • Understanding Public Policy (2nd year UG)

I feel very grateful for having been awarded a EUSA (Edinburgh University Students' Association) teaching award for "Teaching with Technology" 2013.


  • BA Integrated Social Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen
  • PhD Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Other professional activities

Co-founder and director of research at the think tank d|part aiming to connect academic research and practitioners' work on political participation - d|part Website

Co-editor of the Journal of Social Policy

Member of the editorial advisory board of Scottish Affairs - Scottish Affairs Website

Research interests

Research interests

Subjective well-being, Political participation, Social capital, Social surveys, Multilevel analyses, Political Culture, Voting age reduction, Civic education, Economic policy, Unemployment

Political participation and political culture: My research on political participation engages with the relationship between different forms of political engagement (both traditional and more recent types) and political attitudes with a particular interest in younger people's perspectives. In particular I emphasise the question about how political education in schools should be structured and explore the use of reducing the voting age to 16. I use conceptualisations based on social capital to operationalise the extent and composition of associational membership patterns of people and relate this to their attitudinal orientations. In the context of the financial crisis in Europe I am very much interested in the similarities and differences in political culture across member states of the European Union.

Subjective well-being: I am interested in different understandings of well-being, in particular contrasting micro-economic conceptions of (objective) utility with subjective conceptions of well-being. The aim is to better understand how different groups of people define well-being differently in the first place and what factors then contribute to this particular understanding of well-being. I am most interested in assessing how country-level factors (economic, demographic and cultural) moderate the relationships of certain individual-level factors and personal well-being. Applications include the contextualisation of the effects of religiosity and unemployment on life-satisfaction. I use social capital concepts to operationalise differences in people's personal contexts to better understand their embeddedness in particular networks.

Survey methodology and innovative methods teaching: I am an active member of the quantitative methods group fo the School of Social and Political Science and engaged in a wide number of activities. Details about the group can be found here. I also contribute to Edinburgh's Q-Step centre for teaching innovation in quantitative methods, details for which can be found here. With regards to quantitative methods I mainly use multilevel and structural equation modelling, mainly in comparative contexts. In addition I also have an interest in focus group analyses.

Topics interested in supervising

I am happy to supervise students interested in research relating to political participation or subjective well-being. Regarding the former, I would be particularly keen to support students who are interested in different formations of socio-political attitudes. Regarding the latter, I am particularly interested in understandings of subjective well-being that challenge orthodox notions of economic utility. More generally I would be keen to engage with students who use concepts relating to social capital in their research, who are interested in exploring understandings of interactions between individual- and society-level processes or who have an interest in innovative survey research.

If you are interested in being supervised by Jan Eichhorn, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:

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