Educational programmes:

The Department of Public Administration (PA)

The Department of Public Administration (PA) is responsible for research and education in the areas of Public Administration, European Studies and Public Management and Policy. It approaches these issues from a multilevel perspective with a focus of the relationship between sub-national, national, European and global levels of governance. PA is a multidisciplinary group of researchers, combining economic, legal, political and sociological perspectives in a strong methodological setting.

Research is mainly embedded in the multi-disciplinary research program Innovation of Governance of the Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies - IGS, which focuses mainly on changes in the relationships between citizens and their government at various levels (local, regional, EU and global) with specific attention for the emergence of multilevel governance, from the viewpoints of legitimacy and effectiveness.

Two central themes, Democracy and European Governance and Integration, are covered by two IGS Centres of Expertise: the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Centre for European Studies.

The Department is composed of the following disciplinary groups:


Economic Governance


Law and Regulation


Political Science and Research Methods


Public Management


Sociology of Public Governance

Latest news

New publication by M. Bader and C. van Ham: What explains regional variation in election fraud? Evidence from Russia: a research note

The December 2011 legislative election was among the most fraudulent national elections in Russia since the communist period. The fraud, however, was not evenly spread across the country. Precinct-level election returns from the 83 regions of the Russian Federation suggest that the level of fraud ranged from minimal or small in some regions to extreme in some others, with moderate to high fraud levels in many regions in between. We argue that in an electoral authoritarian context like Russia, regional variation in fraud can be explained by differences in (a) the perceived need by regional authorities to signal loyalty to the center by “delivering” desired election results; (b) the capacity of regional authorities to organize fraud; and (c) the vulnerability of citizens to political pressure and manipulation. We test the effect of signaling, capacity, and vulnerability on electoral fraud in the 2011 legislative elections with data on the 83 regions of the Russian Federation. We find evidence for all three mechanisms, finding that the tenure of governors in office, United Russia's dominance in regional legislatures, and the ethnic composition of regions are most important for explaining regional variation in electoral fraud. ... read more

New article by: G. Jansen, A. Akkerman, and K. Vandaele: Undermining mobilization? The effect of job flexibility and job instability on the willingness to strike

This article addresses the question of whether, and to what extent job flexibility is detrimental to mobilization with regard to the willingness to take part in industrial action. The authors examine the influence of job flexibility (‘standard’ versus ‘non-standard’ work) and job instability (changes from one job to another) on employees’ willingness to strike. Based on Dutch survey data it is shown that only minor differences exist between ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’ employees in their willingness to participate in a strike. While this study did not establish a major direct effect of job flexibility on strike participation, tests of interaction effects reveal that job flexibility moderates other mobilizing factors, such as union membership and job dissatisfaction. Job instability, on average, has no effect on strike participation. ... read more

Recent Article by A. Lehr, A. Akkerman and R. Torenvlied: Spillover and conflict in collective bargaining: evidence from a survey of Dutch union and firm negotiators

Using unique survey data on Dutch collective agreement negotiators, the authors model how information about other collective bargaining events influences the probability of negotiators encountering bargaining impasses or industrial action during collective bargaining. Competing hypotheses about this influence, derived from economic, social psychological and sociological approaches, are tested. The findings indicate that information about bargaining outcomes elsewhere has no significant effect on the occurrence of conflict. However, if the information content of spillover refers to the conflict potential in other bargaining events and the sources of information are proximate, the probability of conflict is increased. This suggests that sociological mechanisms offer a compelling alternative to those invoked in economics for explaining the relationship between spillover and conflict. ... read more

Recent article by A.K. Kölln: The value of political parties to representative democracy

Political parties play a major role in democratic processes around the world. Recent empirical research suggests that parties are increasingly less important to citizens. Simultaneously, classic and contemporary theories of representative democracy specifically still minimally incorporate accounts of party benefit. This article attempts to reconcile normative political theory on democratic representation with party politics literature. It evaluates party democracy’s value in comparison with its next best theoretical alternative – pluralist democracy with individual representatives – along two different paths. It argues that parties are not flawless, but party democracy is preferable over pluralist democracy. Parties increase predictability and the transparency of policy outcomes. This, in turn, facilitates better accountability between voters and their representatives. In addition, parties save politics from becoming a dispersed and even possibly a contradictory set of actions. ... read more