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Article

Interest Representation in Belgium

Mapping the Size and Diversity of an Interest Group Population in a Multi-layered Neo-corporatist Polity

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2021
Trefwoorden interest groups, advocacy, access, advisory councils, media attention
Auteurs Evelien Willems, Jan Beyers en Frederik Heylen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article assesses the size and diversity of Belgium’s interest group population by triangulating four data sources. Combining various sources allows us to describe which societal interests get mobilised, which interest organisations become politically active and who gains access to the policy process and obtains news media attention. Unique about the project is the systematic data collection, enabling us to compare interest representation at the national, Flemish and Francophone-Walloon government levels. We find that: (1) the national government level remains an important venue for interest groups, despite the continuous transfer of competences to the subnational and European levels, (2) neo-corporatist mobilisation patterns are a persistent feature of interest representation, despite substantial interest group diversity and (3) interest mobilisation substantially varies across government levels and political-administrative arenas.


Evelien Willems
Evelien Willems is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the interplay between interest groups, public opinion and public policy.

Jan Beyers
Jan Beyers is Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His current research projects focus on how interest groups represent citizens interests and to what extent the politicization of public opinion affects processes of organized interest representation in public policymaking.

Frederik Heylen
Frederik Heylen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His doctoral dissertation addresses the organizational development of civil society organizations and its internal and external consequences for interest representation. He is co-founder and CEO of Datamarinier.
Article

Between Party Democracy and Citizen Democracy

Explaining Attitudes of Flemish Local Chairs Towards Democratic Innovations

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden democratic innovations, citizen participation, local politics, Flanders, Belgium
Auteurs Didier Caluwaerts, Anna Kern, Min Reuchamps e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As a response to the perceived legitimacy crisis that threatens modern democracies, local government has increasingly become a laboratory for democratic renewal and citizen participation. This article studies whether and why local party chairs support democratic innovations fostering more citizen participation. More specifically, we analyse the relative weight of ideas, interests and institutions in explaining their support for citizen-centred democracy. Based on the Belgian Local Chairs Survey in 2018 (albeit restricting our analysis to Flanders), the central finding is that ideas matter more than interests and institutions. Ideology is alive and kicking with regard to democratic innovation, with socialist and ecologist parties and populist parties being most supportive of participatory arrangements. By contrast, interests and institutions play, at this stage, a minor role in explaining support for participatory innovations.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research and teaching deal with Belgian and comparative politics and democratic governance in deeply divided societies. His work has been published in various journals, including European Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Acta Politica.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is Assistant Professor at research group GASPAR at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her main research interests include political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multilevel governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and, in particular, the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, citizenship (education), (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership.
Artikel

Sturing op toeristische gentrificatie in stadscentra

Lessen uit Amsterdamse stadsstraten

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Urban governance, policy fit, tourism gentrification, city centre, Amsterdam
Auteurs Ir. Simon van Zoest en Dr. Wouter Jan Verheul
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The extensive growth of urban tourism has influenced the living environment of urban citizens worldwide, which is among others due to changes in the range of commercial amenities. As a manifestation of this development, the existing supply of retail and hospitality services gradually changes from a focus on inhabitants to the tourist. As a result, the call for municipal intervention grows. However, little is known about the steerability of this development. In this article we therefore asses how tourism affects the range of commercial amenities in city streets, and what local policy responses are most suitable. The research builds on the concepts of tourism gentrification and different types of ‘policy-instrument fit’. Our case study of the city centre of Amsterdam, including a media and policy document analysis, as well as in-depth interviews with stakeholders, show that some problems caused by mass tourism require ‘hard’ forms of government control, while others require a ‘softer’ process approach, linking local parties to jointly improve a city street. The presented steering perspectives are not only relevant for the city of Amsterdam, but also for many other towns within, and beyond, the Netherlands, that have been struggling with the growth of tourism. The open attitude towards urban mass tourism has come up for discussion and urban (tourism) policy calls for reconsideration.


Ir. Simon van Zoest
Ir. Simon van Zoest is promovendus aan de Technische Universiteit Delft.

Dr. Wouter Jan Verheul
Dr. Wouter Jan Verheul is universitair docent en onderzoeker aan de Technische Universiteit Delft. Beide zijn verbonden aan de afdeling Urban Development Management.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Auteurs Johanna Schnabel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open What Is Left of the Radical Right?

The Economic Agenda of the Dutch Freedom Party 2006-2017

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden radical right-wing populist parties, economic policies, welfare chauvinism, populism, deserving poor
Auteurs Simon Otjes
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article examines the economic agenda of the Dutch Freedom Party. It finds that this party mixes left-wing and right-wing policy positions. This inconsistency can be understood through the group-based account of Ennser-Jedenastik (2016), which proposes that the welfare state agenda of radical right-wing populist parties can be understood in terms of populism, nativism and authoritarianism. Each of these elements is linked to a particular economic policy: economic nativism, which sees the economic interest of natives and foreigners as opposed; economic populism, which seeks to limit economic privileges for the elite; and economic authoritarianism, which sees the interests of deserving and undeserving poor as opposed. By using these different oppositions, radical right-wing populist parties can reconcile left-wing and right-wing positions.


Simon Otjes
Assistant professor of political science at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University.
Article

Consensus Democracy and Bureaucracy in the Low Countries

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden consensus democracy, bureaucracy, governance system, Lijphart, policymaking
Auteurs Frits van der Meer, Caspar van den Berg, Charlotte van Dijck e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Taking Lijphart’s work on consensus democracies as our point of departure, we signal a major shortcoming in Lijphart’s focus being almost exclusively on the political hardware of the state structure, leaving little attention for the administrative and bureaucratic characteristics of governance systems. We propose to expand the Lijphart’s model which overviews structural aspects of the executive and the state with seven additional features of the bureaucratic system. We argue that these features are critical for understanding the processes of policymaking and service delivery. Next, in order to better understand the functioning of the Netherlands and Belgium as consensus democracies, we provide a short analysis of the historical context and current characteristics of the political-administrative systems in both countries.


Frits van der Meer
Frits van der Meer, Professor Institute Public Administration, Leiden University.

Caspar van den Berg
Caspar van den Berg, Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen.

Charlotte van Dijck
Charlotte van Dijck, PhD Fellow Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.

Gerrit Dijkstra
Gerrit Dijkstra, Senior Lecturer, Leiden University.

Trui Steen
Trui Steen, Professor, KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.
Article

Access_open Do Characteristics of Consociational Democracies Still Apply to Belgian Parties?

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Belgium, political parties, party membership, political participation, political representation
Auteurs Emilie Van Haute en Bram Wauters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium has long been described as a typical case of a consociational or consensus democracy. This article aims at identifying whether political parties in Belgium share the internal characteristics of parties in consensus democracies: passive mass memberships, the importance of purposive and material incentives for joining, and representation of a clear subculture in the social and attitudinal profiles of their members and via overlapping memberships with related organizations. We mobilize longitudinal party membership data and party member surveys conducted in three different time periods. We show that pillar parties still exercise their role of mobilization and representation of societal segments, but these segments tend to become smaller over time. New parties offer alternative options of mobilization and representation, although not always in line with the specific institutional arrangements of consociational democracy.


Emilie Van Haute
Emilie Van Haute, Cevipol, Université libre de Bruxelles.

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters, Research Group GASPAR, Ghent University.
Article

Transformative Welfare Reform in Consensus Democracies

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden consensus democracy, welfare state, social investment, transformative reform, Belgium and the Netherlands
Auteurs Anton Hemerijck en Kees van Kersbergen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article takes up Lijphart’s claim that consensus democracy is a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy than majoritarian democracy. We zoom in on contemporary welfare state change, particularly the shift towards social investment, and argue that the kinder, gentler hypothesis remains relevant. Consensus democracies stand out in regard to the extent to which their political institutions help to overcome the politically delicate intricacies of governing for the long term. We theorize the features that can help to solve the problem of temporal commitment in democracy through processual mechanisms and illustrate these with short case studies of the contrasting welfare state reform experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Anton Hemerijck
Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

Kees van Kersbergen
Kees van Kersbergen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science of Aarhus University, Denmark.
Artikel

Slanker maar topzwaar, meer vrouwen maar vergrijsd: het veranderende gezicht van de rijksoverheid 2002-2015

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2018
Trefwoorden Cutbacks, Government spending, Civil servants, Public service, Open data
Auteurs Dr. Dimiter Toshkov, Eduard Schmidt MSc en Prof. dr. Caspar van den Berg
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article analyses the transformations of the Dutch civil service over the last 15 years, during which numerous cutbacks and reorganizations took place. While existing research predominantly focused on changes in the total number of civil servants, we examine how the distribution of civil servants changed in terms of rank, gender and age. We theorize four methods for shrinking the government apparatus, and for each method, we identify the possible consequences for the composition of the central civil service in terms of hierarchical make-up and of age. Our results indicate that the total number of civil servants only slightly decreased, but the decrease affected differentially the various ranks of the civil service. While at the lower ranks the number of civil servants decreased strongly, at the upper ranks the number actually increased slightly. The number of women in the civil service increased, also in the higher echelons. Regarding the age distribution, we found considerable changes, with the modal age shifting upwards with up to ten years. Altogether, the civil service has become slightly smaller, more gender-balanced, and significantly more senior (both in terms of ranks and age). The results of this study show that it is important for researchers and practitioners to look beyond the trends in the total number of civil servants and explore the deeper changes within the civil service.


Dr. Dimiter Toshkov
Dr. Dimiter Toshkov is werkzaam bij het Instituut Bestuurskunde, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Universiteit Leiden.

Eduard Schmidt MSc
Eduard Schmidt MSc is werkzaam bij het Instituut Bestuurskunde, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Universiteit Leiden.

Prof. dr. Caspar van den Berg
Prof. dr. Caspar van den Berg is werkzaam bij de Campus Fryslan, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Artikel

De slag om duurzaamheid in de polycentrische regio’s Randstad en Rijn-Roergebied

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2016
Auteurs Simon Goess MSc, Prof. dr. Ellen van Bueren en Prof. dr. Martin de Jong
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In polycentric urban regions one can find different, mutually related cities without a clear centre. In these regions cities cooperate to attract inhabitants and employment, but at the same time they are each other’s competitors. The Randstad (Netherlands) and the Rhine-Ruhr area (Germany) both can be seen as polycentric regions. The authors explore to what extent these regions possess a common identity and common agenda and to what extent this promotes the sustainability and energy transition of these regions. In both regions identity appears to have grown especially at subregional level, by historically developed spatial-economic profiles of the different cities or suburban regions. In addition the cities in these regions more and more wish to distinguish themselves in the area of sustainability. Every city wants to be the smartest, greenest and healthiest, and to be at the forefront in energy transition and climate mitigation. In the Dutch Randstad this competitive drive especially seems to contribute to the realization of sustainability projects at the local level. And that is exactly why regional cooperation is important: to allocate resources as well as possible and to avoid transfer to others. This can be improved by the development of subregional or regional sustainability visions.


Simon Goess MSc
S. Goess MSc is werkzaam aan de Technische Universiteit Delft. Hij deed in Delft een master op het gebied van Sustainable Energy Technology.

Prof. dr. Ellen van Bueren
Prof. dr. E.M. van Bueren is als hoogleraar Urban Development Management verbonden aan de Technische Universiteit Delft.

Prof. dr. Martin de Jong
Prof. dr. W.M. de Jong is werkzaam als Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Research Professor aan de Technische Universiteit Delft en eveneens verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Artikel

De parlementarisatie van Europees economisch beleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden European Parliament, politicisation, economic policy, democratic deficit
Auteurs Dr. Adriaan Schout, Jan Marinus Wiersma, Mariana Gomes Neto e.a.
Samenvatting

    Since the euro crisis the EU has seen a deepening of integration with a new framework for economic and budgetary coordination. With the new framework reforms in pension or housing market are coordinated at the European level. This comprehensive set of rules and monitoring mechanisms has revived the debate on Europe’s democratic deficit. This article describes how the European Parliament (EP) tries to fill the democratic void in economic governance. The EP’s formal role is limited, but by using mostly informal mechanisms the EP is setting in motion an incremental process towards further control. This development should be seen in light of a political battle on the interpretation of the new rules, which has accordingly become increasingly politicized. The Dutch have always wanted a European economic policy on the basis of technocracy and rules, but at the same time Europe’s political union draws ever closer.


Dr. Adriaan Schout

Jan Marinus Wiersma

Mariana Gomes Neto

David Bokhorst
Artikel

Robots en arbeid: technologisch determinisme revisited?

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2016
Trefwoorden Robots, technological determinism, organizational choice, new technology, technological unemployment
Auteurs Dr. Fabian Dekker
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In today’s debate on the impact of new technology on employment, many fear that robots will substitute human labour. Due to increased exposure to market pressure and the decline in union power, the adoption of new technology at the workplace is perceived as an inevitable course in order to remain competitive. This rejects the basic principles behind organizational choice theory: the idea that technology is shaped by social agency. Analysis of qualitative data from 23 in-depth interviews in two sectors of the Dutch economy shows that the use of robotics at the workplace is far more limited than anticipated.


Dr. Fabian Dekker
Dr. Fabian Dekker is als postdoctoraal onderzoeker verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Hij doet onderzoek naar flexibilisering van werk, jeugdwerkloosheid en nieuwe technologie. Website: www.fabiandekker.nl.
Article

Mondiale standaarden of race-to-the-bottom?

Een analyse van regelgevende samenwerking in de onderhandelingen over een Trans-Atlantisch Vrijhandels- en Investeringsakkoord (TTIP)

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 3 2015
Trefwoorden trade, European Union, TTIP, regulatory convergence, global standards, race-to-the-bottom
Auteurs Ferdi De Ville en Niels Gheyle
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Since the summer of 2013, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Especially for the EU, this is one of the policy priorities for the present term. TTIP is supposed to bring much-needed growth and jobs and to enable the EU to remain a global standardsetter, all without lowering EU levels of regulatory protection. Opponents of the agreement, however, fear that TTIP would lead to a regulatory race-to-the-bottom. This article scrutinizes these claims through a detailed document analysis complemented with a number of interviews. It is embedded in the political-economic literature on the trade-regulation nexus as well as on exporting standards and secondary literature on past EU-US regulatory cooperation attempts. We argue that the effects of TTIP are dependent on the concrete mode of regulatory convergence chosen in the agreement. If, as seems presently most plausible, the negotiators opt for bilateral mutual recognition as their preferred mode for regulatory convergence, the plausibility that TTIP would lead to global standards is reduced. The risk of running into a regulatory race-to-the-bottom increases in that case, but will ultimately depend on the number of sectors where this mode is applicable and under which conditions this is applied. We conclude that the probability is low that the TTIP agreement being negotiated will lead either to a significant increase in global standards or to a direct large-scale race-to-the-bottom.


Ferdi De Ville
Ferdi De Ville is docent Europese Politiek aan het Centrum voor EU-Studies van de Universiteit Gent. Zijn onderzoeksbelangstelling gaat voornamelijk uit naar Europees handelsbeleid en de politiek-economische gevolgen van de eurocrisis.

Niels Gheyle
Niels Gheyle is als doctoraatsonderzoeker verbonden aan het Centrum voor EU-Studies. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op de politisering van Europees handelsbeleid, met een specifieke focus op het vrijhandelsverdrag tussen de VS en de EU (TTIP).
Artikel

Door het glazen plafond

Naar effectieve maatregelen voor meer vrouwen in de top

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2015
Trefwoorden gender equality, glass ceiling, diversity management, Interventions, organisational behavior
Auteurs Drs. Ans Merens, Drs. Wilma Henderikse en Dr. Babette Pouwels
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Although in many Western European countries women have entered the workforce in large numbers this has not resulted in an equal representation in senior positions. Little is known about how organizational policies could be changed and what initiatives have proven to be effective in raising the number of women in the top of organizations. This article examines the effectiveness of measures taken by organizations to increase the number of women in senior management positions. We have reviewed literature regarding the effects of various types of measures on realizing more women in senior positions. The outcomes of this literature review have been used as a framework for an empirical analysis of the effectiveness of measures taken by companies. Data from the Charter Talent to the Top show that adopting a broad range of measures at the strategic level leads to a higher share of women in senior management positions. HR instruments and communication strategies also affect the proportion of women at the top. More specifically, facilitating flexible work options, external communication about the organization’s diversity goals, and increasing women’s visibility within the organization all have positive effects on the share of women in the top.


Drs. Ans Merens
Drs. Ans Merens is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.

Drs. Wilma Henderikse
Drs. Wilma Henderikse is directeur en partner bij VanDoorneHuiskes en partners.

Dr. Babette Pouwels
Dr. Babette Pouwels is senior onderzoeker bij VanDoorneHuiskes en partners.

    Does scaling up municipalities strengthen or does it weaken (local) political participation? This is an important question because of the intention – as it is written down in the Dutch coalition agreement – to gradually scale up Dutch municipalities to 100.000+ inhabitants. This article answers the question on the basis of a meta-analysis, voter turnouts, the national election study and interviews. The author has also examined behavioural indicators for political participation, especially the turnout figures at local elections. The conclusion from this analysis by the author is clear and unambiguous: as the size of the local government (the municipality) increases (local) political participation decreases. For a lot of forms of political participation a size of about 10.000 inhabitants seems to be the optimal scale for local government. Because other (recent) research in the Netherlands has shown that the assumed cost savings from municipal amalgamation are not achieved, the desirability of (further) upscaling of Dutch municipalities can be questioned.


Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
Dr. ir. P. van Houwelingen is onderzoeker aan het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau bij de afdeling Participatie, Cultuur en Leefomgeving.
Article

Belgian Politics in 2006

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2-3 2007
Auteurs Sam Depauw en Mark Deweerdt
Auteursinformatie

Sam Depauw
Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders at the KU Leuven.

Mark Deweerdt
MA in Political Science.
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