Special issue VTOM on innovation in the public sector

The latest special issue of VTOM (Vlaams Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement; 2020-4) focuses on innovation in the public sector. Innovation is important for governments in order to deliver good services to citizens and society and in order to solve complex problems. The articles in this special issue cover a variety of challenges associated with collaborative innovation. In addition, the articles illustrate the ambitions and commitments of various Belgian and Flemish government organizations in this matter. Finally, they also draw some first lessons from (collaborative) innovation in the public sector. The special issue collects contributions from various ongoing projects (PSI-CO, TROPICO, SBV) involving several researchers from the PPG research group.

Find out more about VTOM's special issue (in Dutch) on innovation in the public sector on their website.

The editorial of this special issue is now freely available - Download editorial (only in Dutch).


The EU-funded TiGRE project presents a series of research seminars to the scholarly community and the general public

​Webinar Series on Trust and Regulatory Governance in an Age of Crisis

Issues of trust and regulation stand at the centre of social science analysis in the last decades. They are becoming even more important nowadays with the Covid-19 crisis. Our aim in this series of seminar talks is to present the basic scholarly concepts and ideas around the topic; to promote an advanced analysis and to discuss the issues on the agenda from a theoretical, historical and comparative perspective.

Scheduled webinars:

  • Trustworthy Government and Legitimating Beliefs — Professor Margaret Levi — 11 November 2020
  • Trust and Vaccination — Professor Koen Verhoest — 18 November 2020
  • Political Orientation, Trust in Social and Political Institutions and Adoption of Protective Behavior During the Pandemic — Professor Gustavo Mesch — 26 November 2020
  • Trust, Polarization and Excess Mortality for COVID-19 across European regions — Professor Victor Lapuente — 3 December 2020
  • Contestable trust and democratic governance — Professor Valerie Braithwaite — 10 December 2020
  • Trust in digital technologies: from contact-tracing apps to policies for Trustworthy AI — Professor Andrea Renda — 15 December 2020
  • Trust and Rule Compliance — Professor Frédérique Six — 17 December 2020
  • Trust and distrust in transformations — Professor Dominika Latusek-Jurczak — 14 January 2020

New reports on collaboration and innovation in the public sector

​Emmanuel Dockx, Stephanie Verlinden and Koen Verhoest wrote two research reports (in Dutch) on collaboration and innovation in the public sector.

Collaboration, learning and innovation in the public sector occupy a prominent position in the policies of many OECD countries. In addition to traditional instruments, collaboration and innovation (through collaboration) are regarded as important tools for tackling complex, disruptive and cross-sector policy issues (or 'wicked issues'), especially at a time when trust in government is under pressure and citizen demands grow stronger. Despite this awareness, there is a lack of empirical knowledge about which factors shape the outcomes of and trust within inter-organizational collaborations and which organizational capacities ensure that public (and private) organizations can connect with and learn from one another.

1) In a recent (Dutch) research report, Emmanuel Dockx and Koen Verhoest identified crucial factors that determine the success of cross-sectoral collaborative arrangements. The report not only provides an insight into how these arrangements and associated challenges are experienced by those involved, but also how network managers can meet these challenges in order to ensure successful innovation, fruitful collaboration and trust among involved partners. The full report can be downloaded here.

2) In another (Dutch) research report, Emmanuel Dockx, Stephanie Verlinden and Koen Verhoest assessed how various organizational conditions and capacities affect whether and how public innovations are developed, tested and implemented – where necessary in collaborative arrangements. The report formulates 13 recommendations linked to 43 specific action points for public managers and practitioners. The full report can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact: Emmanuel Dockx (emmanuel.dockx@uantwerpen.be).

Pension reform new Federal Government

Professor Janvier has read the coalition agreement of the new belgian government and wrote down some thoughts. (In: Knack)

​The recently formed Federal Government aims to increase the pensions to 1500 euro. However, a lot of uncertainty and fine prints exist in the current agreement. Ria janvier, a pension experts, wrote an opinion piece for Knack (Dutch only).Read the full article

Will Belgium's new government delays push the country to split?

Professor Bursens (UAntwerp) explains the current Belgian situation and challenges in Euronews.

A new article in euronews focusses on the new federal government. Peter Bursens explains the lack of credibility, the apathy of voters, the linguistic cleavage and possible reforms of the state.

Read the full article 

Blog: How wealthy lobby groups benefit from a silent media

​Frederik Stevens and Iskander de Bruycker wrote a blog based on a new study.

Affluent interest groups are often said to enjoy a greater capacity to influence policy when compared to economically deprived groups. Yet, academic studies find no consensus about the validity of this commonly held belief. Drawing on a new study, Frederik Stevens and Iskander De Bruyckersuggest that the role of economic resources for lobbying influence is mediated by the attention that policy issues attract in the news media. Their study shows that wealthy lobby groups are indeed more influential on EU policies, but their competitive advantage disappears for issues which are highly salient in the news media.

Read the full blog here.

Blog: reputation management

​Jan Boon, Jan Wynen and Koen Verhoest on the different audiences targeted by public sector organisations when managing their reputation

Jan Boon, Jan Wynen and Koen Verhoest wrote a blog on the different audiences targeted by public sector organisations when managing their reputation The blog is based on 41 Flemish government organisations

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Boon, Jan; Verhoest, Koen; Wynen, Jan (2020) ‘What determines the audiences that public service organisations target for reputation management?’ [Open Access], Policy & Politics

Shangai Ranking 2020

​Public Administration research at University of Antwerp ranked 26th on Global Shangai Ranking for PA 2020.

The ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) for the field of public administration 2020 has ranked the public administration research at the University of Antwerp on the 26th place in the world. Methodology is strongly based on WoS publications and this position is based upon the period 2014-2018. Although the focus on publications creates some volatility over time, it does show that the PA research at the UAntwerpen is up to par with other international groups.  Public Administration research at UAntwerpen in this ranking of 2020 holds the 1st position in Belgium, before the other Flemish and Walloon universities (closest is KULeuven at place 35).

Stakeholder Mobilization in Financial Regulation: A Comparison of EU Regulatory Politics over Time

​Bastiaan Redert (University of Antwerp- published an article in the Journal of Common Market Studies

AbstractCurrent scholarship is inconclusive whether stakeholder involvement in regulatory politics can be legitimizing. This article argues that stakeholder involvement can only be legitimizing if bias in mobilization is limited. As bias is limited if a heterogeneous set of stakeholders participates mobilizes, stakeholder mobilization in public consultations on EU financial regulation is examined. Due to the financial crisis and subsequent institutional reforms, stakeholders' perception on who is affected by regulation and the reach of the agencies' operations has changed. Subsequently, mobilization is expected to be more heterogenous. The analysis is based on a novel dataset of stakeholder responses to public consultations of the European Supervisory Authorities before and after the financial crisis and reforms. The results show shifts in interest mobilization, but these do not follow the research expectations. Therefore, the findings show that public consultations do not necessarily decrease bias. As such, consultations show important limits for legitimizing EU regulatory policies.