Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research programme

The Institutions of Politics: Design, Workings, and Implications

Formation and design of institutions, and their impact on attitudes, behaviour, and values of political actors.

Joop van Holsteijn

The research programme of the Institute of Political Science is primarily concerned with the analysis of institutions, in the broadest sense of that term. Since the foundation of the Department, and not least as a result of its initial origins within the Faculty of Law, a concern with institutional analysis has always figured prominently on our research agenda.

Institutions in the broader sense

More recently, this traditional emphasis has been reinvigorated through the major renewal of interest in institutions in the international political science literature, and through the impact of those new modes of thinking which are included under the rather loosely defined heading of ‘neo-institutionalism’. In this sense, this new wave of international literature has brought back to the fore the issues and concerns that have always played a prominent role in our own research profile. In common with this international political science literature, we define institutions in a very broad sense. That is, we recognise that political institutions are more than the simple aggregations of individual political activity, but provide the rules and pay-off structures that constrain individual behaviour, and that also contribute to the formation of political preferences.

Attention to the normative and theoretical aspects

In this programme political institutions are therefore analysed both as dependent variables (in terms of their formation and design) and as independent variables (in terms of their impact on the attitudes, behaviour and values of political actors). Moreover, within this broad definition, we also pay particular attention to the normative and theoretical aspects of institutions, and thus we devote a substantial part of the research programme to the question of how institutions might be designed, and to the implications of their functioning.

Synergising different empirical and normative approaches

One of the great strengths of our research programme is therefore the synergy which is created through the bringing together of both empirical and normative approaches in our analyses of the design, working, and implications of political institutions. We also take a very inclusive attitude as regards the remit of our research programme, in that we emphasise the analysis of institutions both in the Netherlands and cross-nationally, and in that we are concerned with systems that operate both at the national and inter- or supra-national level.

PhD research

Practical information

Website Institute of Political Science

Website Graduate School Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences


All full professors at the institute have the ius promovendi (the right to act as a PhD supervisor). The institute's associate and assistant professors may co-supervise a PhD project.


Rudy Andeweg

Rudy Andeweg

Ingrid van Biezen

  • comparative politics
  • political parties and party systems
  • party organization and membership
  • party law and regulation
  • political finance
  • democratisation
  • (Southern) European politics
Arjen Boin

Arjen Boin

  • strategic crisis management
  • crisis and crisis management in the European Union
  • coordination during large-scale disasters
  • institutional resilience
  • institutional crisis and reputation management
Joop van Holsteyn

Joop van Holsteijn

  • elections
  • electoral behaviour
  • public opinion
  • opinion polls
  • Dutch politics
Ruud Koole

Ruud Koole

  • Dutch politics
  • political parties
  • political finance
  • political history
  • multi-level governance
Petr Kopecky

Petr Kopecký

  • political parties and party systems
  • patronage and clientelism
  • political corruption
  • political finance
  • comparative politics
  • Czech politics
  • (East) European politics
Paul Nieuwenburg

Paul Nieuwenburg

  • history of political philosophy
  • moral psychology
  • public ethics
  • constitutional theory
Daniel Thomas

Daniel Thomas

  • international relations/world politics
  • international institutions, international cooperation, global governance
  • politics of human rights and international law
  • social movements, advocacy networks and non-state actors in world politics
  • European integration, comparative regionalism
  • foreign policy (EU, US, comparative)
Amy Verdun

Amy Verdun

  • European integration, governance and policy-making
  • European economic governance/governance of the euro area
  • international political economy
  • comparative politics
  • EU-Canada relations and comparisons
This website uses cookies.  More information.