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Kohei Suzuki receives grant from the Swedish Research Council

Kohei Suzuki, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Administration recently received a large research project grant from the Swedish Research Council.

Combined Effort

Suzuki won the Swedish research grant with value of €421,523 together with Victor Lapuante from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and ESADE in Spain. The grant will cover a three-year research project starting in 2020 and ending in 2022, a combined effort between Leiden University and the University of Gothenburg. The projects aims on why some civil servants are more committed to professional norms than others.


Why are some civil servants more committed to professional norms than others?

The project aims to explore, in general, what explains civil servants’ attitudes and behavior, and, in particular, why some civil servants are more committed to professional norms and public service values – such as impartiality, equity, efficiency, and innovation – than others. The existing good governance studies have identified an empirical link between macro-level bureaucratic factors such as the type of recruitment system of public servants (i.e. meritocratic) or salary levels and favorable outcomes.

The proposed research aims to advance the previous studies by, first, shifting the unit of analysis from macrostructure to individual bureaucrats: we will ask top and middle-range local civil servants. And, second, conducting survey experiments in which we will confront public managers with hypothetical real-life decision-making situations, where they must weigh the demand of their political superiors (e.g. interested in having a positive report on a particular policy they have promoted) against civil servants’ professional norms (e.g. offering a balanced policy report). We will conduct a survey experiment with public managers in Swedish, Spanish, and Japanese municipalities. Survey experiments-vignette and conjoint experiments will allow us to conduct analyses with more careful attention to the causal mechanism than observational data in order to understand what motivates civil servants’ behavior.

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