The unintended consequences of transparency
This project asks whether or not stricter transparency requirements in international organizations have perverse consequences, by pushing deliberations to more obscure venues. It hypothesizes that when new transparency regulations open negotiations up to public scrutiny, governments with an incentive for discretion will seek alternative venues that are potentially even more difficult to monitor. The argument is tested using the case of negotiations in the Council of the EU. Motivated by anecdotal evidence and previous research, I investigate whether or not the introduction of stricter transparency regulations in the Council have prompted an increase in informal gatherings. This project benefits from funding from the Hertie School of Governance, the LSE Covid fund, and LSE’s European Institute. Preliminary findings featured on NRC Handelsblad. A draft paper can be found here.
People and International Politics in Post-War Europe (with Chris Anderson and Stephanie Hofmann)
What lessons do citizens draw from experiencing major armed conflicts, and how do they think about international politics in their immediate aftermath? When war is a recent rather than a distant memory, do people have coherent ideas about newly emerging tensions and the best ways to ensure peace, security, and stability going forward? While many politicians, pundits and observers point to lessons from World War 2 to illustrate the necessity of stopping aggressors decisively in their tracks, others maintain that the same event instead has shown that neutrality is the preferred way to prevent an escalation of armed conflict. How people arrive at vastly different assessments of events of regional and global significance is as notable as it is puzzling. This project aims to exploit a treasure trove of previously unused public surveys conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of State in several European countries between 1945 until 1970. These surveys regularly asked random samples of citizens inter alia about their perceptions of the intensifying Cold War and their attitudes toward former warring parties, newly established international organizations, and European security projects. Together, well over 100,000 Europeans participated in these surveys, and they promise to offer rare glimpses into (changing) attitudes toward European and international politics in the years following World War 2. The project benefits from funds from the CIVICA consortium.
Solidarity in the European Union (joint with Clare Wenham,, Antoine Corporandy and Asha Herten-Crabb)
Despite its sluggish start, the EU’s vaccine procurement is now widely hailed as an example of transnational solidarity. Drawing on interviews and news reports, this spotlight looks at how the idea of joint procurement came up, who was allowed to participate and others left out, and the implications of regional for global solidarity. This project benefits from contributions from the PERISCOPE consortium.
Prisoners of the Past? Historical narratives and international cooperation
Drawing on bodies of literature in conflict studies, political psychology and behavioral economics, this project explores whether or not narratives about a country’s past serve as heuristics in the formation of attitudes and decisions on international cooperation. Using survey experiments on samples of EU citizens and elites, the project evaluates if exposure to narratives of victimhood reduce people’s willingness to engage in reciprocal behavior, by reducing trust vis-à-vis cooperating partners. This project benefits from funding from LSE’s European Institute and Stiftung Mercator.