Home / Research / Cluster 1 / Theme 5

Comparative political studies: policy making governance and
welfare system

Contact Bocconi University for this project

Paolo Graziano
Assistant Professor
Department of Institutional Analysis and Public Management
Bocconi University
Via Sarfatti 25, 20136 Milan, Italy

Bocconi University
POLEIS (Centre for Research on Comparative Politics) was established in 1978. The aim of the Centre is to conduct research on social and political institutions and processes in comparative perspective. While primarily drawing from the disciplines of political science and sociology, the Centre┐s researchers are engaged in a constant dialogue with economists and lawyers. This combination enables us to interpret, in an original way, many political and institutional dynamics that are underway in European countries and to better understand European governance and the interaction between supranational, national and sub-national levels, also considering non-European experiences. In its twenty years of activity, the Centre has conducted numerous research projects on a wide array of topics, including mass beliefs and public policies, the politics of taxation, industrial policies and politics, democratization in Eastern Europe, the institutional architecture of the EU, migration and citizenship, comparative welfare state reforms. Our focus on policymaking has recently developed in a wider interest in European Modes of Governance, above all at the local level. As a matter of fact, the ┐partnership solution┐ has rapidly and broadly become a common strategy enabling public administrations to deal with issues related to socio-economic governance at various levels of government: local, national and supranational. Despite these progresses, a number of relevant research questions are still open. Some of these questions became especially relevant as a consequence of the recent political decentralisation in many European countries. These open issues concern both local modes of governance (scope, varieties and structures) and wider trends (Europeanization, European top priorities, such as social exclusion or CSR).

Here is just a brief list of some of the most relevant open research questions:

  • To what extent do partnership experiences show clear evidence of consolidation and legitimacy?
  • What are the political characteristics (consolidation, democratic legitimacy, policy scope, etc) of new modes of governance?
  • What are the European trends (Europeanization, Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy, etc.) in policy making?
  • What are the dynamics behind the recent changes in the European welfare systems?

These questions are addressed at the research level with different techniques: case studies, in depth interviews, panel data, etc.

Relevance to future of European societies
The research themes briefly described above are clearly relevant for the future of the European society. Indeed, a deep and wide knowledge of European political dynamics both at the local level (modes of governance) and the national level (welfare system and Europeanization) would significantly improve growth and development of European society by giving politicians the tools able to interpret, support and promote, in the actual complexity, future governance models.

© 2009 - 2011 RISE Network