"Here you can find information about upcoming training, calls for papers, blog posts, and other interesting news!"


CfP Policy Bureaucracy Reloaded: Bureaucrats as Policy-Makers

posted Mar 3, 2020, 6:49 AM by Eva Thomann

Anat Gofen, Fritz Sager and I warmly invite paper proposals for the annual EGPA conference in Budapest, 2-4.9.2020. This year’s workshop of the Permanent Study Group XIII on Public Policy focuses on the policy-making role of public administration at all stages of the policy cycle. It is now well-accepted that bureaucrats are much more than mere executive agents: due to their discretion and influence in the preparation, execution, and evaluation of public policies, they become crucial policymakers of their own. By seeking papers on the bureaucrat as a policy maker, our aim is to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion of the political role of public servants. Find the full call for papers here.

We kindly invite researchers interested in the workshop theme to submit a short abstract (max. one page) until April 30, 2020 to the conference management website, outlining:
  • the title of the paper
  • the argument and contents of the paper
  • the research methods and empirical material used
  • name, affiliation, and contact information of the author(s)
EGPA 2020 Conference Website:
EGPA 2020 Conference Management System :

Call for papers: Causation, Correctness, and Solution Types in Configurational Comparative Methods

posted Feb 9, 2020, 3:14 AM by Eva Thomann

Tim Haesebrouck and I seek paper proposals for a special issue in Quality & Quantity :

Causation, Correctness, and Solution Types in Configurational Comparative Methods

Comparative Configurational Methods (CCMs), such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) (Ragin 1987/2014) or Coincidence Analysis (CNA) (Baumgartner 2015), have developed into widely-used methods in the social sciences. At the same time, the assumptions and theory of causation underlying CCMs continue to be a matter of debate. There is an ongoing controversy on the correctness of QCA’s different solution types (conservative, (enhanced) intermediate and (enhanced) parsimonious) and on which of these solutions should be at the basis of substantive interpretation. Publications on the issue generally argue in favor of one solution. Schneider and Wagemann (2012, 279), for example, state that “usually, the enhanced intermediate solution should be at the center of substantive discussion”. Baumgartner (2015), in turn, argues that only the parsimonious solution identifies causally relevant conditions—accordingly, CNA only produces parsimonious solutions. In contrast, Dușa (2019, 24) concludes that the intermediate solution is positioned closest to the true, underlying causal model. Recently, Thomann and Maggetti (2017) and Schneider (2018) have mapped the existence of different approaches with different analytic goals and understandings of what is a “good” explanation in CCMs. Yet in applied QCA, a variety of solution types are often used inconsistently with these understandings (Thomann and Ege 2020). Given this lack of clarity, the explanatory use of CCMs arguably still rests on shaky foundation.

The proposed special issue seeks to advance these discussions through a structured, respectful, clarifying discussion focused on the following, or similar, substantive questions:

1.    What are the analytic goals of applying CCMs?
2.    What theory or theories and definitions of causation underlie QCA in its explanatory uses?
3.    What is the purpose and usefulness of logical minimization, depending on QCA’s analytic goals?
4.    How can we think of and evaluate the correctness of CCM results?
5.    Which solution types are best suited (or not suited) for different purposes?
6.    What are the background assumptions that must be made for different CCM solution types/ analytic purposes?
7.    How generalizable are the conclusions that can be drawn from different solution types?

By treating these questions, the special issue has two overarching goals. First of all, it aims to map the different views on the solution types, the different ways in which these are interpreted and the required background assumptions for drawing conclusions from the different solution types. Second, and more generally, it aims to result in a better understanding of the different purposes for which CCMs can be used and which solution types fits best with what purpose. Hereby, it aims to result in a set of guidelines on which solution type CCM applicants can use for the purpose of their research. 

We invite contributions from a diversity of scholarship, perspectives, and disciplinary or epistemological approaches that move forward the state of the art in a constructive manner. 

Submission guidelines
Deadline for sending abstracts to guest editors via e-mail: March 1, 2020
Closing date (submission of full papers via editorial manager): July 30, 2020

Abstracts should specify, in no more than 250 words:
-    Research question and relevance motivating the paper
-    Data/methods used
-    Main argument/ findings and implications in light of the special issue topic

Call for papers: Behavioural Governance in Europe

posted Nov 3, 2019, 9:54 AM by Eva Thomann

Anat Gofen, Alice Moseley, Kent Weaver and I invite paper proposals for a special issue proposal for the Journal of European Public Policy entitled “Frontiers of Behavioural Governance in Europe”. The special issue seeks to build on and advance the contribution of Behavioural Public Policy and Administration to the study of European Public Policy across the policy process. To build bridges between sub-disciplines, we define behavioural governance broadly as the study of how decision-makers, implementing actors and target groups both shape and react to public policies and to each other, from a psychological perspective of methodological individualism. This special issue seeks to advance this research agenda by presenting innovative research that contributes to three areas:

  1. The comparative study of behavioural governance in Europe
  2. The study of complexity in behavioural governance
  3. The study of behavioural governance in the European Union.

Successful paper proposals should outline, in no more than 300 words, the relevance and motivation, research question, data, methods, (expected) results and key contribution against the background of the research interests motivating the special issue. Please submit your proposal via e-mail to until 15th Nov. 2019.

Read the full call for papers here

Deadlines for case-oriented and set-theoretic methods training in 2020

posted Oct 9, 2019, 12:12 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Oct 23, 2019, 8:31 AM ]

Register for targeted training in case-oriented and set-theoretic methods in 2020!

International Winter School on Public Policy - Alps Edition 2020 , Aussois, France
The Call for application is organised in 2 phases:
September 9 to October 18, 2019 : call for application
October 21 to October 30, 2019 : late call for application (please note that the selection will depend on availability)

ECPR Winter School of Methods and Techniques, University of Bamberg
17-21 February 2020
Early bird discounts apply until 29 October

EU referendums as a cure-all? Lessons from Switzerland

posted Oct 1, 2019, 3:11 AM by Eva Thomann

It is often argued that national referendums on European Union (EU) matters can be a cure for the democratic deficit of the EU and its policies. But what can we learn from a country like Switzerland about how and when direct democracy works? In this blog post, Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen, Eva G. Heidbreder and I conclude that referendums in the EU usually lack the necessary institutional and administrative links between direct and representative decision-making to have legitimacy-enhancing effects.

CfP "Differentiated policy implementation in the European Union", ECPR joint sessions 2020, Toulouse

posted Sep 8, 2019, 4:21 AM by Eva Thomann

Asya Zhelyazkova, Eva Ruffing, Sebastiaan Princen and I warmly invite paper proposals for our workshop “Differentiated policy implementation in the European Union” at the  ECPR joint sessions in Toulouse, 14-17 April 2020.

The workshop explores the diversity of policy implementation practices in the EU, the drivers of this diversity, as well as its consequences. We currently observe a new generation of policy implementation research which focuses on differentiated policy implementation as a crucial aspect of European integration in practice. The goal of this workshop is to gather this emerging research community and corresponding theories, concepts, and findings. We seek to engage in a systematic mapping of the field, its current state of the art, innovations, as well as areas for future research. Ultimately the workshop should hence provide an important opportunity to identify, clarify, consolidate, and develop the contribution of this agenda to the study of multilevel governance in the EU.

We look forward to receiving your proposal until  5 November 2019. Find more information about the panel and instructions for submitting proposals here:

Panels on behavioral governance and policy implementation @ECPR general conference in Wroclaw

posted Aug 23, 2019, 6:20 AM by Eva Thomann

For those interested in policy implementation and behavioural governance, I would be delighted to meet you at one of these panels that I chair at the European Consortium for Political research, Wroclaw, 4-7 September 2019:

Beyond Nudging – Advancing the Discussion on Behavioural Governance (section: the politics of bureaucracy)
Chairs: Jan Pollex and Eva Thomann, Discussant: Peter John
Contributions by Kathin Loer, Benjamin Ewert, David Legg, Sheheryar Banuri, Peter John 
06/09/2019 17:50 - 19:30, Building B)Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 5th floor Room: 501

Revisiting Implementation in the European Union: New Trends in Implementation and Enforcement (section: The European Union in Times of Crisis: Internal Challenges and a Changing Global Order)
Chair: Eva Thomann, Discussants: Ekaterina Domorenok, Jana Paasch
Contributions by Jana Paasch, Christian Stecker, Eva Thomann, Asya Zhelyazkova, Joerg Stefan Haas, Gerard Breeman, Anna Szajkowska, Meredith Ratner
07/09/2019 11:00 - 12:40, Building C, Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 2nd floor Room: 201

IPPA best book award for research on customization

posted Jul 9, 2019, 5:05 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Jul 9, 2019, 5:28 AM ]

I am very happy and grateful to have received the 2019 best book award from the International Public Policy Association, for my book Customized implementation of European Union food safety policy: United in diversity? published by Palgrave Macmillan in the International Series on Public Policy. The award is awarded biennially to a single- or co-authored monograph that makes an original and significant theoretical, methodological and/or empirical contribution to the field of Public Policy and/or Public Administration. 

CfP themed issue titled “Beyond nudge. Advancing the state-of-the-art of Behavioural Public Policy” in Policy & Politics

posted Apr 8, 2019, 11:08 AM by Eva Thomann

Kathrin Loer, Benjamin Ewert and I invite paper proposals for a themed issue in Policy & Politics titled “Beyond nudge. Advancing the state-of-the-art of Behavioural Public Policy”. We seek empirical papers based on cutting-edge qualitative, set-theoretic, and/or quantitative research on BPP that fit within the overarching framework of the themed issue. Please find more information in the CfP below.

We look forward to receiving your abstract of 150-300 words before April 15th

Qualitative Methods Summer Training, Penryn, June 2019

posted Feb 5, 2019, 7:45 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Feb 5, 2019, 7:50 AM ]

Comparative Case Study Design

3-7 June 2019
Designing Research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
10-14 June 2019

Upgrade your qualitative method skills!
We offer two tailored 5-day (1 week) qualitative methods modules on one of the UK’s most scenic university campuses, close to the lovely beaches of Cornwall. The modules have a practical, hands-on focus on the possibilities and pitfalls of applying a range of comparative qualitative and case study techniques in different research settings. Each module has up to 25 participants and consists of a 3 hour seminar in the morning and a 1 hour lab session in the afternoon each day. You can sign up for one or both modules.

The modules are open to postgraduate research students, PhD students, postdocs, academics, and research-oriented practitioners who engage in social research, across the UK and internationally. Upon completion of a written assignment, each module is credited with an equivalent of 7.5 ECTS points. You can also attend the modules without getting credits if you wish to.

1-10 of 47