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Article by Natascha van der Zwan receives an honourable mention

‘It was a complete surprise to me to find the Emerald Citation of Excellence certificate in my pigeonhole,’ says Natascha van der Zwan. Her article ‘Making sense of Financialization’ has received an honourable mention from Emerald Publishing because it is used all over the world for research and education.

Political economics

Natascha van der Zwan is a political scientist associated with the Institute of Public Administration in The Hague, which could be considered a surprising combination. But Van der Zwan specialises in comparative political economics and her research focuses on ‘financialisation’, a relatively new field of research. ‘I study the influence of financial considerations on the welfare state. I teach courses on this topic as part of the Economics, Policy and Management (EBM) specialisation in the Bachelor’s programme in Public Administration and the Master’s programme in Public Sector Management.’

Overview in great demand

‘I am honoured to receive the prize!’ says Van der Zwan. ‘The article “Making sense of Financialization” formed part of my doctoral thesis, as a chapter offering an overview of the literature in this young field of research. That may sound dull, but to my amazement the article met a great need. It provides a useful overview of the literature, and I also refer to the various trends in the field.’ Since 2014, it has emerged as one of the most popular articles in the journal Socio-Economic Review. ‘I am often cited, and I receive responses from all around the world,’ says Van der Zwan, ‘even from students in developing countries who do not have an extensive university library available to them.’


Social scientists have studied the role of financial markets on the economy and our administration since the 1990s. They investigate how the financial markets influence the economy and society, including the welfare state. According to Van der Zwan, ‘These are interesting questions. For example, consider how the government deals with pension funds: What is the investment policy, and what is the return on these investments for us?’


Routledge publishing house also noticed the success of Van der Zwan’s article, and the have asked her to compile a handbook, together with two other young researchers, on the subject of financialisation. ‘We are finding that we can easily gain the cooperation of big names,’ says Van der Zwan, ‘partly because they have heard of my article.’

Into the archives

At the moment, Van der Zwan is working on a large comparative historical investigation into the pension systems in the US, Germany and the Netherlands. ‘I have done archive research in all three countries,’ says Van der Zwan, ‘looking at the interaction between politics, society and the financial sector in the 20th and 21st centuries. I hope to find answers to various questions, such as: how did the social partners influence social policy, but also financial policy, during this period? Why were certain investment forms chosen? The results will become a new publication.’

Each year, prestigious publisher Emerald Group Publishing presents its Emerald Citation of Excellence Award to scientific articles in various fields of research, especially in business management, finance, accounting, economics and marketing. 

A team of editors seek out often-cited, innovative and interdisciplinary articles for the prize. These articles, which have appeared in various publications and journals, receive an honourable mention and a certificate. 

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