Scientific Director/Professor Public Administration
Bernard Steunenberg conducts research on European politics and policymaking, including the relationship between the Union and its Member States on the transposition and implementation of European policy. In his work, he uses perspectives from game theory, deliberative theory, public choice and analytical politics.
Bernard Steunenberg is Professor of Public Administration at Leiden University since 1 September 1999. He conducts research on European politics and policymaking, including the relationship between the Union and its Member States on the transposition and implementation of European policy. Recently, he also writes about the impact of digitalization on public policy and policymaking. In his work, he uses perspectives from game theory, deliberative theory, public choice and analytical politics. In addition, he regularly organizes national and international discussions, on the EU as well as on the possibilities and challenges of data-driven policymaking. Get to know Bernard Steunenberg and how Europe influences us.
Bernard Steunenberg received a BA (1979) and a MA (1983) in Public Administration from the University of Twente. In 1989 he received his PhD also from the University of Twente. He was Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Twente (1986-94), Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Netherlands Institute of Governance (NIG) (1994-99), and Associate Professor of Public Finance at the Faculty of Public Administration and Public Policy, University of Twente (1994-99). He has been a visiting scholar at various universities, including Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the Political Science Department of the European University Institute in Florence (2006-7). As the Jean Monnet Ad Personam Chair in European Politics (2009-14) he established the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at Leiden University.
At Leiden University Bernard Steunenberg is Scientific Director of the Institute of Public Administration (since 2018). He was also Director in 2001-2004 and 2008-2011. In 2012-2015 he was vice-dean of Faculty Campus The Hague.
Bernard Steunenberg taught a range of courses on politics, public administration and the EU in various programs at Leiden University. He is teaching the courses Political Science (BA-1), Decision-Making and Rational Choice (BA-3), and EU Policymaking and Implementation (MA Public Administration). He runs a successful and prize-winning MOOC on ‘European Policy and Implementation’ at the Coursera platform. He also taught several summer schools on EU politics and policy and has been a guest lecturer in several programs.
Bernard Steunenberg is the founder and a general editor of the open access journal Research and Politics. The journal started publishing papers in 2014 and is already a well-cited journal especially in social media.
Research on EU decision-making
Central to this work are the strategic interaction between political actors, their interests and the formal and informal structures of the decision-making process. Bernard Steunenberg focuses on legislative procedures and the balance of power between the main European ‘institutions’, the functioning of comitology procedures, the position of the European Parliament in the EU, the role of working parties in the Council of Ministers, and the impact of trialogues as part of the codecision procedure, among others. This work includes using new techniques in content analysis to explore the functioning of EU legislative decision-making.
Research on coordination and implementation of EU policy
While successful policy formulation requires some degree of coordination, policy implementation needs some differentiation. In his work, Bernard Steunenberg explores how choice is made, in which he focuses on how domestic actors influence the making but also the implementation of European policy. This includes actors at the national level, but also at the level of local or regional government. Currently he works on a number of specific fields, including air quality, residence rights, and state aid.
Research on the popular acceptance of the EU
Linked to the MAXCAP research project, Steunenberg focuses on national discourses regarding important European issues. One project focuses on the views of citizens on Turkey’s membership of the EU. Recently, research is done on national discourses regarding enlargement and European integration in various countries. These projects explore how citizens evaluate and appreciate European integration, which is important in order to address current EU-wide issues on legitimacy and support.
Research on policymaking in the digital era
Motivated by the increasing digitalization of society and government, Bernard Steunenberg is interested what this entails for policy processes and policymaking. Especially, the possibilities of using more data in making and implementing policy may affect policy, the way policymaking is organized and the structures within which policy is implemented. Will the availability of more and new data contribute to policymaking that supports learning and helps resolving important societal problems?
The data used for several research projects is available at the Harvard Dataverse.
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