Current State Research Projects

    Current State Research Projects
    The reform of real estate credit: towards a sustainable, inclusive and digital European market

    Miriam Anderson (IP), Esther Arroyo Amayuelas (IP), Pedro Maria del Pozo Carrascosa, Laura Teresa Alascio Carrasco

    Data from the GREC Project

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    The objective is to analyze whether the directive 2014/17/EU has been effective in protecting consumers and to what extent its revision must face problems not originally addressed, from the perspective of different Member States . For the development of the project, we have the support of entities such as the College of Notaries of Catalonia, the Autonomous Deanery of Registrars of Catalonia and user associations of credit institutions such as ADICAE and AICEC-ADICAE, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of European Private Law and the Legal Clinic for Housing and Residential Mediation, both of the Faculty of Law of the University of Barcelona (Spain)

    Current State Research Projects
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose: how to generate political concessions in polarized democracies

    Macarena Ares Abalde (IP), Enrique Hernández

    In a context of great political fragmentation and polarization, and with democracies facing increasing structural challenges, this project asks when citizens will support political consensus.

    This project proposes several theoretical and empirical innovations that will advance our understanding of citizen support for political consensus.

    From the empirical point of view, this project will be based on an original survey carried out in five Western European countries. The survey will include experimental treatments that will identify the causal effects of some of the identified relevant factors (eg consensus-supporting parties). In order to characterize the political context and the discourse of the parties, the project will carry out an original codification effort.

    This project will break new ground in our understanding of how citizens evaluate a key process in democratic policymaking. Understanding when citizens will support concessions and political pacts, and how this depends on the positions of the parties in this process, is particularly decisive in a context of great fragmentation and polarization of the parties, and when democracies face important challenges - such as climate change or sustainable economic growth - which require important political measures.

    Current State Research Projects
    Consumer, vulnerability and sustainable housing

    Immaculada Barral Viñals (IP), Vicente Perez Daudi (IP), Eduardo Vázquez de Castro (IS), Gemma Garcia-Rostan Calvin (IS), Araya Alicia Estancona Pérez (IS), Loreto Carmen Mate Satue (IS), Nuria Mallandrich Miret (IS), Chantal Moll de Alba Lacuve (IS), Alexandre Peñalver Cabré (IS), Domènec Sibina Tomàs (IS), Isabel Viola Demestre (IS) 

    Current State Research Projects
    Extreme violence against women: criminal response and alternatives for prevention

    Carolina Bolea Bardón (IP) 

    Current State Research Projects
    Biodiversity, climate and global public health: Interactions and challenges for International Law

    The research project has the general objective of identifying the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 crisis has created in relation to the international and European legal frameworks applicable to the international conservation and protection of biodiversity and the fight against the climate change. It also aims to provide possible answers that strengthen international cooperation and the creation of synergies between these areas to influence, in the medium and long term, global public health and the post-COVID-19 recovery process. 

    The project essentially focuses on three dimensions: 

    • The shortcomings of the current international legal framework to provide an effective response to the degradation of biodiversity and global warming and its effects on global public health. 
    • The global challenges, in institutional terms, that the international community is facing in relation to the current health crisis and that require advancing international cooperation and coordination between international regulatory regimes, such as those on biodiversity, climate change and health , thus generating synergies and avoiding the sterile duplication of efforts. 
    • The international regulatory proposals that, in the general framework of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy and in the process of increasing ambition in the commitments of the Paris Agreement, could facilitate a greater integration of the aspects related to global public health protection. 

    Current State Research Projects
    New challenges and pending reforms of juvenile criminal justice

    Sergi Cardinal Montraveta (IP),Silvia Fernandez Bautista (IP), Victor Gómez Martín (IS), Agustín Ruiz Robledo (IS), Elena Blanca Marín de Espinosa Ceballos (IS), Agata Sanz Hermida (IS), Maria del Carmen Tomas- Valiente (IS), Lucía Serrano Sánchez (IS), Alejandro Turienzo Fernandez (IS), Maria Argelia Queralt Jimenez (IS) 

    Project data (GREC)

    Current State Research Projects
    Countermajoritarian instruments in the constitutional state

    Josep Maria Castellà Andreu (IP), Enriqueta Expósito Gómez (IP)

    Project data (GREC)

    The sub-project, which is part of a coordinated one with the Manuel Giménez Abad Foundation of Zaragoza, aims to contribute to the improvement of institutional and democratic quality (objective of the coordinated project) through the strengthening of counter-majority instruments in constitutional democracy. For this we propose: 1) the carrying out of a study of the instruments of control of the government and the parliamentary majority existing in the Spanish constitutional system and the problems arising from their specific regulation and operation at the three levels of government ( State, Autonomous Communities and municipalities). Such control instruments can be of a political nature (within the Parliament, between the chambers and the electoral body in relation to the representative institutions), institutional (independent bodies and the Ombudsman or similar bodies) and jurisdictional (in particular the Constitutional Court). And 2) the proposed regulatory reform of these counter-majority instruments and institutions, either constitutional or legislative, for the effective fulfillment of the power control function.

    Current State Research Projects
    Agenda Dynamics on Social Media (ADSOM)

    Laura Chaqués Bonafont (IP), Camilo Andres Cristancho Mantilla (IS)

    Project data (GREC)

    This project aims to explain how and why political leaders (MPs) give priority to certain topics in social networks and the consequences this has for political representation in advanced democracies. Social networks have increasingly become a space of power in which representatives compete to influence public policies. Unlike traditional political institutions, social media have few barriers to entry, allowing policymakers to bypass political parties, traditional media, and interest groups as filter institutions.

    For some authors (for example Barber 2004, Chadwick 2020), social media positively affect representative democracy; for others (e.g. Schradie 2019, Mirer and Bode 2013), they reinforce the privileged position of those who are already powerful outside the internet. On the contrary, other authors (e.g. Bimber 1998, Engesser et al. 2017) emphasize that these are particularly suitable for satisfying the communicative preferences of populist actors. From this point of view, the social media are a tool to undermine the legitimacy of representative institutions and, in more general terms, representative democracy. 

    In general, the studies agree in highlighting how the social media challenge the traditional institutions of representative democracy, but they differ in their assessment of the direction in which these media lead to representative democracies. 

    This project contributes to this debate by analyzing under which conditions policy makers are most likely to mobilize in social networks to bypass the power mechanisms of traditional political institutions. The project builds on previous research developed by scholars of political representation (e.g., Pitkin 1967), agenda setting (e.g., Baumgartner and Jones 1993), and social media studies (e.g. (eg, Gainous and Wagner 2014, Russell 2021). The empirical strategy combines quantitative (data sets) and qualitative (in-depth interviews with MPs and social media managers) methods across different countries and times.

    Current State Research Projects
    The regulation of risks derived from climate change and the new formulas for their fair social distribution. The water transition as a reference sector

    José Esteve Pardo (IP)

    Current State Research Projects
    Global Threats and Democratic Responses: From COVID-19 to Climate Change (GTDEMO)

    Albert Falcó Gimeno (IP), Jordi Muñoz Mendoza, Marc Guinjoan Cesena, Francesc Amat Maltas, Sergi Ferrer Juan, Pau Vall Prat,

    Project data (GREC)

    Our contemporary societies are exposed to major global threats, which have the potential to profoundly affect our living conditions. It could be said that two of the most relevant threats are global pandemics such as COVID-19 and climate change. These two threats, although of a substantially different nature, share a number of similarities: they are exogenous, global and pose very complex public policy problems that require citizen cooperation to be addressed. In a democratic context, it is essential to generate citizen support for mitigation policies and ensure citizen compliance. In addition, the magnitude and nature of these threats can affect democratic political systems, causing a shift in the pre-existing political balance. In this project, we propose to study the effect of these threats on the attitudes and political preferences of citizens.

    Current State Research Projects
    Citizen attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence (CATAI)

    Aina Gallego Dobon (IP)

    Project Data (GREC)

    Computerization, automation and, more recently, artificial intelligence (AI) are reshaping different aspects of life, including workplaces and work relationships. 

    This project explores its implications for the political behavior of workers, focusing on different types of issues. First, let's investigate experiences in the workplace: What AI technologies are being introduced into the workplace? How do workers perceive the adoption of these technologies? Are workers worried about being displaced by algorithms?

    Next, we investigate AI knowledge and discourse: How much do citizens know about AI? Do they misattribute AI-related risks to other causes?

    Finally, our project examines what political demands may arise from AI-related labor market risks: What kind of policies do they demand in case they are displaced by AI? Would you like the government to regulate algorithms?

    Current State Research Projects
    The concept of human dignity in legal and moral argumentation

    Ricardo García Manrique (IP), Maris Köpcke Tinturé (IP), Guillermo Escobar Roca, Víctor Méndez Baiges, Héctor Silveira Gorski, Rocío Medina Martín, Pablo Scotto Benito, Pol Cuadros Aguilera, Marc-Abraham Puig Hernández

    The justification of the project starts from a series of argumentative flaws in the foundation of certain decisions of great social and political significance by legal operators and national and international institutions. These are decisions that appeal to the concept of human dignity as a normative standard with relevant or even decisive weight, in matters as diverse and controversial as abortion, euthanasia, new forms of reproduction, prostitution, the provision of the rights of foreigners or the establishment of a guaranteed minimum living wage. However, the so common and so diverse recourse to a supposedly univocal concept of dignity suffers (so has been denounced) from argumentative vices such as emptiness, redundancy or contradiction, or from certain hidden ideological biases. This happens at all levels of public discourse.

    It is therefore imperative to eradicate these misuses of the concept of dignity and reconsider the content and function of this normative standard. The hypothesis of the project is that these misuses have a deep cause or root: the exclusion from the scope of public reason of the substantive conceptions of the good; and that only a transversal study can bring to light this cause and provide us with tools to reverse the situation.

    Current State Research Projects
    Artificial intelligence at the service of the Labor Inspection and Social Security to prevent work accidents

    Jordi Garcia Viña (IP), Carmen Sánchez Trigueros (IS), Luis Franco Sala (IS), Jesús Barceló Fernández (IS), Fermín Gallego Moya (IS), Juan Antonio Alujas Ruiz (IS), María Cuadros Garrido (IS)

    Project Data (GREC)

    Current State Research Projects
    Compliance with contracts and digital reality: the adaptation of contract law for the prevention of cross-border conflicts

    Mariló Gramunt Fombuena (IP); Gemma Rubio Gimeno (IP)

    The approval of directives 2019/770 and 2019/771, with a material scope that coincides - the regulation of conformity in contracts with various objects - is an example that the coexistence of regulatory bodies that address the same matter from different prisms puts legal security at risk. We will analyze the option of bringing together in a single regulatory instrument the regulation of compliance with the contract. The origin of the generalization of some of the remedies specific to consumer law to contractual relations between parties will be assessed, as well as the convenience of extending the regulation to onerous contracts for the acquisition of goods and services more beyond those that constitute the subject matter of the directives. The opportunity to legally establish a supra concept of conformity that generalizes the remedies specific to this institution to other cases of contractual breach will be determined. Finally, the need to promote consumer mediation and arbitration will be addressed with the aim of making it mandatory in small amount disputes, de-judicializing them.

    Current State Research Projects
    Wealth provision mechanisms in an aging society: Intergenerational solidarity and property rights

    Maria Elena Lauroba Lacasa (IP), Jaume Tarabal Bosch (IP), Juana Marco Molina, Santiago Espiau Espiau, Pedro Robles Latorre, Maria Esperanca Ginebra Molins, Luis Caballol Angelats, Lidia Arnau Raventos, Maria Luisa Zahino Ruiz

    Project Data (GREC)

    In 2050, one in six people will be over 65 years old. It is necessary to identify and analyze private law instruments that contribute to their well-being, taking into account their needs, preferences and desires. For this reason, the project is structured in three interrelated areas of research:

    1. The dogmatic - legalized - construction of vulnerability, which can be predicated of elderly or disabled people. 
    2. Real rights as an efficient instrument of protection. Housing as the optimal asset to complete retirement pensions (through the reverse mortgage, anti-crisis or temporary ownership). Protected assets are also studied - and their dogmatic connection with the trust - and the social function of property rights in general.
    3. Intergenerational transmissions, distinguishing two blocks. That of classic instruments of succession, specifically testamentary formalities (and their relaxation after the pandemic); the legitimate one; successions with foreign elements and the succession of the family business.

    On the other hand, the mechanisms that act outside of inheritance law, substitute Wills (e.g. beneficiary designations in pension or life insurance plans).

    Current State Research Projects
    Transparency or glass walls? Institutional and citizen effects of transparency policies in Spain

    Jaume Magre Ferran (IP)

    Project data (GREC)

    The research object of the project is transparency, understood as an institutionalized and interactive relationship between the public sector and citizens, and the research question that is generated arises from the need to analyze the impact in two areas: in terms of intervention in the dynamics, structures and operation of public organizations and in the hypothetical increase in the diffuse support - legitimacy - of citizens towards the institutions. In this last sense of the relationship, it is intended to test the will to punish as a trigger for the social demand for transparency.

    Current State Research Projects
    Rethinking the role of the Armed Forces in the face of new security challenges

    Rafael Cesáreo Martínez Martínez (IP)

    Project data (GREC)

    The debates regarding the future of the FAS, the result of the new scenario of systemic disorder, suggest this question: how should the Spanish FAS adapt to the redefinition of threats to security in Spanish and European societies?

    We conjecture the following: the FAs will evolve towards an integrated actor, managed from a common trunk, although technically diversified. Equally, the dynamics of European synergies will mean the transformation into a single European actor.

    We will investigate public opinion, the political class, the industrial defense lobby and with this material we will convene a simultaneous Delphi process with fifteen experts.

    Current State Research Projects
    Opening the black box: Political, institutional and informational determinants of the legislative process in Spain

    Anna Maria Palau Roqué (IP), Luz Muñoz Márquez (IP)

    Project data (GREC)

    The project is aimed at increasing our understanding of the Spanish legislative process. In Europe, parliaments are considered to have very little influence in the policy-making process. However, these conclusions are based excessively on the analysis of formal rules and structures. We know very little about what happens in the backroom of parliaments, between the presentation of bills and their final enactment. The project aims to shed light on this issue, exploring two aspects.

    Firstly, to what extent the Spanish legislators have the will and the ability to amend the proposals of the executive's bills. For this, we have new and comprehensive databases that include information on all proposed amendments to all executive bills debated in the Spanish parliament, including budget bills. These databases will include information on the total number of proposed amendments and, thanks to recent methodological advances, also on whether these amendments are finally incorporated into the final text of the laws.

    The second aim of the project is to systematically explore another under-researched aspect of the legislative process: whether interest groups manage to include their political preferences throughout the legislative process. Do interest groups perform an informative function, increasing the problem-solving capacity of parliament, or does their participation mainly respond to partisan/legitimizing strategies?

    The project will also explore the extent to which legislators respond with different intensity to the political preferences of business and public interest organizations. To achieve these goals, we will also make an empirical contribution through the development of a new database aimed at collecting information on the political positions of interest groups in relation to the content of executive bills, expressing in parliamentary appearances

    Current State Research Projects
    Personalization of public services, biases and artificial intelligence: towards the consolidation of digital rights in public administrations

    Julio Ponce Sole (IP), Agusti Cerrillo Martinez (IP), Clara Isabel Velasco Rico, Joost Johannes Joosten, Ramon Lluis Galindo Caldes, Anahi Casadesus de Mingo, Oscar Capdeferro Villagrasa, Javier Miranzo Diaz

    Project data (GREC)

    The purpose of this project is to define the guarantees of citizens against the use of artificial intelligence by the Public Administration in the personalization of services.

    The project addresses a new topic with respect to previous research, on which there is little legal literature and which requires an interdisciplinary approach, guaranteed by the composition of the research team and the working group.

    It is about the improvement of public services within the framework of the process of digital transformation of public administrations through artificial intelligence. This improvement will be studied from the perspective of the personalization of public services and the fight against bad administration, fraud and corruption.

    Although this improvement is linked to the relevant right to good administration, there is no doubt that it presents several risks that will be the subject of consideration. On the one hand, the possibilities and limits of the exercise of discretionary administrative powers in a fully automated way. On the other hand, possible software errors that affect the proper functioning of public services within the framework of Artificial Intelligence. Third, the biases, both cognitive of programmers and those generated by machine learning. Fourthly, the possible manipulation of citizens generated by the union of the contributions of behavioral sciences and artificial intelligence (hypernudging). Finally, excessive public technological dependence on the private sector could mean the surreptitious transfer of public functions to it.

    The project will analyze the improvement of public services, through the two ways mentioned, and their risks, proposing mechanisms to prevent and mitigate these (use of nudges, organizational and procedural designs, role of digital rights letters...).

    Current State Research Projects
    Metropolitan Governance in Spain: institutionalization and models

    Mariona Tomàs Fornés (IP)

    Project data (GREC)

    Spain has an urban society in a predominantly rural territory: densely populated urban areas on the coast and in Madrid contrast with a pattern of less dense development in the central areas. Despite the evidence of a metropolitanization process, the Spanish political system has not responded to this phenomenon. There is a gap between the urbanization process and the institutional framework, since there is only one metropolitan government (Barcelona). The aim of this project is to evaluate the institutional construction of metropolitan governance in Spain. Compared to other European countries, the development of metropolitan institutions in Spain has been practically non-existent. This is particularly interesting for two main reasons. First, it exemplifies one of the problems of metropolitan governance: the permanent gap between the institutions and the metropolitanization process. Secondly, in Spain there is a diversity of models of metropolitan governance, a useful fact to analyze the reasons for this variation. METROGOV seeks to provide a comprehensive analytical framework to explain this phenomenon.

    Current State Research Projects
    Secession, democracy and human rights: the role of international and European law in the Catalan process

    Helena Torroja Mateu (IP), Jessica María Almqvist, Rafael Arenas García, Juan María Bilbao Ubillos, José Fernando Lozano Contreras, Araceli Mangas Martin

    Project data (GREC)

    Current State Research Projects
    Preferences, career and territory. The politics of judicial inequality in Spain

    Joan Josep Vallbé Fernández (IP), Lluís Medir Tejado

    Project data (GREC)

    Legal control is one of the key elements of the relationship between federal political systems and the courts. Through the exercise of judicial review, courts can shape federal systems through their interpretations of constitutional rules. These rules mainly refer to the distribution of powers between the federation and the states that compose it, but they also usually refer to interpretations of the structural characteristics of the federal system, such as the representation of the constituent states in the political institutions of the federation.

    The main research question of this project is how the constitutional courts of federal systems reconcile the divergent goals of maximizing legitimacy and efficiency. This project aims to answer this question through the study of the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) as a key actor and the configuration of the State of the Autonomies. We will do this through a dual research strategy: (1) measuring the strength of the court's decisions on regional legislation, and (2) identifying the explanatory factors of the TC's strength across time and space, thus exploring the impact of the characteristics of TC judges on their decisions on regional legislation.

    Spain is a particularly relevant case for studying the role of "federal arbitrators" because constitutional litigation largely shapes the depth of the Spanish territorial model, in at least three ways. First of all, the Spanish federal constitutional provisions are ambiguous and unfinished by design. Secondly, in this institutional context, the TC has a special status within the Spanish legal and political system and its main function is to act as the only actor in the Spanish political system with the power to act as a "negative legislator". Thirdly, the official data show that the Spanish TC is a very active court in the European context, which provides us with sufficient variation (over time and between regions) to establish a fruitful empirical strategy.

    The general objective of this project is to achieve a better understanding of how and why the Spanish Constitutional Court exercises its power over regional legislation. Our dependent variable is the strength that the TC exerts on Spanish regional legislation, which will be measured using an innovative methodology. Our set of independent variables will identify and measure the determinants of TC behavior over time, and will include internal court variables such as the political profiles of TC judges and the way the court is organized, as well as relative variables to the policies of the relations between the regions and the central governments.

    Current State Research Projects
    Resolution and prevention of corporate conflicts: good governance, partners' agreements, procedural efficiency, alternative means to litigation and predictive justice

    Daniel Vázquez Albert (IP)

    The aim of this project is to propose solutions that contribute to preventing and resolving societal conflicts. This problem is addressed with a multidisciplinary methodology combining four complementary perspectives: mercantile, procedural, economic-financial and international. In recent years, corporate conflicts have increased in number and intensity, generating increasing litigation. The momentous Social Reform Law for the improvement of corporate governance (Law 31/2014) has removed this conflict. Among other things, because it has intensified the duties of social administrators and has typified the abuse of the majority as a cause of challenge to social agreements, which in turn has generated a body of jurisprudence that has invigorated corporate litigation. Our legal system does not provide a satisfactory response to societal conflicts. The legislation offers generic parameters that do not resolve the varied casuism and the courts resolve specific disputes, but often do not definitively resolve the conflict that constitutes the underlying problem. The project will propose solutions based on the agreement between the conflicting parties (self-composition), to be the parties (not the legislator or the courts) who are in the best position to find the most satisfactory solution.

    Current State Research Projects
    Caring cities. Competencies and forms of management of services to people in large urban areas

    Marc Vilalta Reixach (IP), Ricard Gracia Retortillo (IP), Tomàs Font i Llovet, Joaquín Tornos Mas, Alfredo Galán Galán, Ana María Sanz León, Natalia Caicedo Camacho, Carme Sibina Vidal, Cristina de Gispert Brossa, Maite Vilalta Ferrer

    The purpose of the research project is to analyze the problems related to the system of competence distribution, management and financing of care services for people in large urban areas. Specifically, the project is structured around four major thematic axes. First, the conceptual and legal delimitation of care services for people and the role played by large urban areas at the present time. Secondly, the study of the regulatory system or sources applicable to said services, as the regulatory framework for this matter is currently conditioned by European Union Law and by the coexistence of several levels of territorial government with regulatory powers. Precisely, this coexistence is also what justifies the third major objective of the project, which seeks to clarify the functions performed by the different public administrations in terms of services to people, identifying which criteria must be taken into account for the attribution of powers to each of them, as well as for their financing. And, finally, the project also addresses the study of the forms of management of said services, with the aim of offering criteria to legal operators when choosing said management forms. And it is that, again, the incidence of European Law in this matter, especially public procurement law, has meant a questioning of some of the traditional formulas for the provision of said services.

The research in numbers

  3 European research projects

  31 National research projects

  29 Doctoral theses completed in 2022-2023

  14 Consolidated research groups