Talk at the Annual Conference of the MPSA April 10, 2013 9:25 pm This friday I will give a talk on “The Dynamics of Social Context on Political Preferences in Germany” at the annual conference of the MPSA in Chicago. Here’s the abstract: The paper investigates how geographically defined social contexts impact on political preferences over time. Berelson et al. 1954 argue in their classical treatment that a person’s political preferences are more fully structured by her social context at the end of the election campaign than at the beginning, as this time period serves as a stimulus that sets into motion social influence processes of information exchange and group pressure. In other words social context matters more at some times than at others. The paper seeks to shed some light on the nature of this kind of socially structured political dynamics by tracing the impact of Catholic contexts on voter preferences for the CDU/CSU on a monthly basis over a period of fifteen years (1995-2009). Results suggest that the impact of social context on individual vote preferences indeed vary over time and seem to do so in a non-random but structured way. This result has important implications for contextual analyses in political science that only consider single points of time and draw substantial conclusions concerning the presence of contextual effects from them. However, the uncovered time trend does not meet the theoretical expectation of increasing social influence as election day approaches. Rather it seems to follow longer term cyclical patterns. When? Friday, April 12th, 14:40. Where? The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL.