June 2023 – Podcast on Heuristics

Nice conversation with Toby Wardman from SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) in their Science for Policy Podcast series. The recording is available here:

March 2023 – Report on potential value of one person factions in municipal councils

Per the request of the Netherlands Society for Local Councillors (VvR), Hans Vollaard, Lars van Rooij and I have written a report on the potential value of one person faction in municipal councils in the Netherlands. The report (in Dutch) is available here; a blog post here and is discussed here and here.

September 2022 – New article showing that rules of thumb can lead politicians to misjudge voters’ reactions

An article, co-authored with Chris Butler, on heuristics and policy responsiveness has been published in European Political Science. More information on the study is available in these blogs: here (in English) and here (in Dutch).

July 2022 – ERC Consolidator grant for project ‘Politicians under Radical Uncertainty’

Extremely happy and honored to have been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for my project RADIUNCE. In this 5-year project, we will study how politicians respond to different types of uncertainty (radical, resolvable) in four countries with different opportunities and constraints of responding to uncertainty: Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. We will examine among other things whether and how the behavioral responses to uncertainty are shaped by politicians’ characteristics, like personality, and by institutional factors, like the political system. More information is available here:  (in English) and here  (in Dutch).

March 2022 – New book chapter on differences between politicians and non-politicians

Happy to see a book chapter – co-authored with Sjoerd Stolwijk – on differences in judgment and decision making between politicians and non-politicians published in ‘Psychology of Democracy‘, edited by Ashley Weinberg (Cambridge UP). We find that while politicians do not seem to be in a ‘league of their own’ when it comes to their judgment and decision making, there are some important differences between politicians and non-politicians that may influence the functioning of representative democracies. The book is available via CambridgeCore.

October 2021 – New open access publication on blame attribution

In a new open access publication in Political Behavior, Anthony Kevins & I examine how public consultations and gender might shape blame. The full article is available here. A blog in Dutch is available here. And a blog in English is available here.

June 2021 – The Oxford Encyclopedia on Political Decision Making now available in print!

The two-volumes of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision Making are now published in print by Oxford University Press. David R. Redlawsk has done an amazing job as editor-in-chief of this >100 articles-project and it was also a great pleasure working with the other associate editors: Cengiz Erisen, Erin Hennes, Zoe Oxley & Darren Schreiber.

June 2021 – Paper to be presented at EPSA Virtual 2021

In June, I’ll participate at EPSA Virtual 2021, serving as a discussant and presenting work-in-progress (co-authored with Jean Roisse) entitled ‘Do Politicians’ Personality Characteristics Influence their Decision Making under Risk with Outcomes in Multiple Dimensions?’ If you’re interested in the draft paper, please let me know.

January 2021 – Paper to be presented at the American Politics Group PSA Annual Meeting

On 22-23 January, my co-author Anthony Kevins will present our paper entitled ‘Do Public Consultations Reduce Blame Attribution? Studying the Interplay Between Consultation Characteristics, Gender, and Gender Attitudes’ at the American Politics Group PSA Annual Meeting (online). If you’re interested in the paper, please let me know!

December 2020 – New article on tracking configurations over time with QCA

The discussion about accounting for time in QCA is increasing. Stefan Verweij and I contributed to this discussion with a new article about  tracking configurations over time with QCA in the European Political Science Review. The article is  Open Access and available here.

September 2020 – Upcoming talk on Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow

On October 20, I’ll be giving a talk at the new library in Utrecht, co-organized by Studium Generale, on Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. I’ll talk about Kahneman’s work can help to better understand politicians’ risky decision making. You can find more information (in Dutch), as well as the opportunity to sign up, here.

September 2020 – Paper on how to conduct quantitative studies with the participation of political elites accepted for publication in Quality & Quantity

Conducting quantitative research (e.g., surveys, a large number of interviews, experiments) with the participation of political elites is typically challenging. Given that a population of political elites is typically small by definition, a particular challenge is obtaining a sufficiently high number of observations and, thus, a certain response rate. In this paper, Sjoerd Stolwijk and I focus on two questions related to this challenge: (1) What are best practices for designing the study? And (2) what are best practices for soliciting the participation of political elites? To arrive at these best practices, we (a) examine which factors explain the variation in response rates across surveys within and between large-scale, multi-wave survey projects by statistically analyzing a newly compiled dataset of 342 political elite surveys from eight projects, spanning 30 years and 58 countries, (b) integrate the typically scattered findings from the existing literature and (c) discuss results from an original expert survey among researchers with experience with such research (n=23).

By compiling a comprehensive list of best practices, systematically testing some widely held believes about response rates and by providing benchmarks for response rates depending on country, survey mode and elite type, we aim to facilitate future studies where participation of political elites is required. This will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of political elites’ opinions, information processing and decision making and thereby of the functioning of representative democracies.

The article (open access) is available here.

June 2020 – Paper on decision-making biases to be presented at the ISPP virtual conference

My co-author–Chris Butler, the University of Manchester–will present our paper entitled ‘Do Political Decision-makers Display Decision-Making Biases When Responding to Electoral Cues? Evidence from Three Case Studies in the UK’ at the virtual meeting of the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). If you’re interested in a copy of the paper, please drop me an email.

April 2020 – Mini lecture on decision making under conditions of uncertainty

Per request of the Dutch Association of Public Administration, I have given a mini lecture on decision making by political actors under conditions of uncertainty. You can find the video (in Dutch) here. The full series “Special State of Science” series – in which public administration professors reflect on the Covid-19 pandemic – is available here.

March 2020 – Political elites’ behavioral strategies in response to Covid-19

Utrecht University published a contribution on the behavioral strategies-such as “avoidance” and “exploitation”-that political elites use in response to the Coronacrisis. You can find the contribution (in Dutch) here.

February, 2020 – New article on whether politicians use the representativeness heuristic

Political Behavior just published an article, co-authored with Sjoerd Stolwijk, which shows that yes, they (largely) do.  Blogs in English and in Dutch are available here and here.

February, 2020 – Contribution to REBO Impact Night

On March 12, the REBO Impact Night takes place — an event organized by my faculty for the wider public — on the theme “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. The key note speech will be given by Henk Ovink; together with Katrien Termeer, Joost de Laat & Elaine Mak, I’ll be a member of panel. You can find more information about the event here.

November, 2019 – Reflection on talk on the power of social nudges

On November 21, the IOS stream Instutions and Behavior hosted a public lecture by Sander van der Linden on social nudges (or “snudges”). In my reflection on this talk, I presented an idea for a “snudge” — see figure above — that may help governments to improve their decision making by focusing more on the long term. Comments welcome!

November, 2019 – Paper presentation at the NIG Annual Work Conference

On 7-8 November, I attended the NIG Annual Work Conference at the Vrije Universiteit to present a draft chapter (co-authored with Sjoerd Stolwijk) on whether politicians—such as ministers, party leaders, members of parliament (MPs) or elected municipal council members—are in a “league of their own” in terms of how they take decisions and make judgments. We find that they are not, even though the size of the effects does sometimes differ between politicians and non-politicians.

August, 2019 – Essay on Transparency in qualitative research now available on SSRN

An essay that brings together the main findings and remaining issues from the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD), authored by Alan Jacobs, Tim Buthe and numerous co-authors (including me), is now available on SSRN. Highly recommended for anyone interested in transparency in qualitative research in political science and beyond!

You can find the essay here.

July, 2019 – Nominated as Best Lecturer of the year 2019-2020

I’m very honored to be nominated as Best Lecturer of the year of the Utrecht University School of Governance by the student association Perikles. Some more information (in Dutch) is available here.

July, 2019 – New article on prospect theory and political decision making

A critical review of prospect theory in political decision making, co-authored with Ferdinand Vieider, is now available online in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in Political Decision Making. You can find the article here.

May, 2019 – Part of virtual special issue of Political Psychology with top cited articles

It’s a great honor that the article entitled ‘Do Politicians Take Risks Like the Rest of Us? An Experimental Test of Prospect Theory Under MPs’ of Jona Linde and myself is part of Political Psychology’s virtual special issue that includes top cited articles from 2016-2018.

You can find the full virtual special issue here.

May, 2019 – Upcoming talks and conferences

On May 17, Anthony Kevins and I will present a synopsis of an experiment on when citizens blame politicians at the University of Amsterdam. On June 12-13, we’ll be presenting a first version of the paper on this experiment at the Dutch/Flemish Politicologenetmaal.

In-between those events, on May 23-24, I’ll be attending the 2nd International QCA Summer Workshops, Antwerp edition where I’ll be discussant and rapporteur.

May, 2019 – Science and Fiction “Happy Science”

On May 14, I’ll be giving a short introduction to the movie Alice in Wonderland. The movie is part of the movie series Science and Fiction, which is organized by my department and the Louis Hartlooper Complex. More information on the series, which this year has the theme “Happy Science” (Vrolijke Wetenschap) is available here.

February, 2019 – APSA’s Qualitative Transparency Deliberations 

APSA’s Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD), which started in 2016, have come to an end. All working group reports and summaries thereof are now available at SSRN; you can find the full list here. With Carsten Schneider and Kendra Koivu, I formed the working group ‘Set-Analytical Approaches, Especially Qualitative Comparative Analysis’. You can find our report on transparency in, especially, QCA here and its summary here.

January, 2019 – Article on whether political elites use heuristics

Yes, they do. In this article – which is now published in an issue of Political Studies Review –, I show that also political elites use heuristics (i.e., cognitive rules of thumb) in their judgment and decision making.

July, 2018 – Article on prospect theory in foreign policy analysis
An article on underexposed issues, advancements and ways forward regarding prospect theory in foreign policy analysis, co-authored with Dieuwertje Kuijpers, has just been published open access in Contemporary Security Policy.

June, 2018 – How to use qualitative data in QCA?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor journal of mixed methods researchTogether with Debora de Block, I answer this question in a paper that addresses the challenges related to transforming qualitative into quantitative data in Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and that has just appeared as  EarlyView publication in Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

June, 2018 – Politicologenetmaal
On 7-8 June 2018, I attended the Dutch-Flemish Politicologenetmaal in Leiden, the Netherlands, to present an updated version of the MPSA-paper (see below, with Sjoerd Stolwijk).
May, 2018 – Do political elites use heuristics?
Do political elites also use heuristics in their judgment and decision making? In a recently published article Political Studies ReviewI argue that – under specific conditions – they do.
April, 2018 – MPSA Conference

On 4-8 April 2018, I attend the MPSA Annual Conference in Chicago, United States, to present a paper (co-authored with Sjoerd Stolwijk) on whether politicians use the availability heuristic in their judgment and decision making.

November, 2017 – When do parties change their platform in-between elections?political communication (8K)

Mariken van der VeldenGijs Schumacher & I just published an article on when political parties change their platform in-between elections in Political Communication. Based on an analysis of >20,000 press releases from Dutch political parties between 1997 and 2014, we show that electoral defeat motivates party platform change in-between elections and that parties are thus backward looking (cf. the electoral performance mechanism) instead of forward-looking (the rational anticipation mechanism). We find this result of parties looking backward only for parties in opposition, though, and – interestingly – find no indication that this effect weakens over time. Our findings also provide mportant insights on the role of government participation.