Postdoctoral research position on Political Economy – The Interchange between Democratic Institutions and the Globalisation of the Economy

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


June 3, 2022


Postdoctoral research position on Political Economy – The Interchange

between Democratic Institutions and the Globalisation of the Economy

(ref. BAP-2022-257)

Last modification : Tuesday, May 3, 2022

LEER is a research center of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the KU Leuven. We aim for independent state-of-the-art academic research on public economics issues with economic tools (see www.

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Following World War II, globalisation and market liberalisation triggered a period of unprecedented growth. Recently, these trends appear to reverse, whereby globalisation and corporations started to pose challenges for liberal democracy, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. As a PhD researcher, you work within the Horizon Europe DemoTrans project, which is an impact-driven research project that will provide theoretically and empirically robust recommendations on how to reinvigorate democratic governance by improving the accountability, transparency, effectiveness and trustworthiness of rule-of-law based institutions and policies. Moreover, it will provide robust recommendations on strengthening democratic governance through the expansion of active and inclusive citizenship empowered by the safeguarding of fundamental rights, thus showing pathways to a secure, open and democratic European society.

More specifically, you study the organizational design of democratic governance and its impact on policy outcomes and institutional legitimacy. Within the European Union, national, regional and local authorities have to coordinate their actions with supranational institutions and cooperate at various stages of the policy-making process. The democracy and subsidiarity principles are at the core of these interactions: i.e. citizens should be at the heart of decision-making and their needs should be addressed by the closest level of government. However, both aspects face major challenges linked to increasing citizen dissatisfaction about the decision-making process and budget restrictions imposed by economic crises. The way local governments respond to novel forms of citizen engagement and to budget balance rule enforcements is not neutral with respect to efficient or equitable results for citizens. Yet, previous studies have overlooked the impact of these challenges on local government efficiency and the costs of potential mismanagement. The research addresses this research gap by investigating the impact of participatory democracy and fiscal rule enforcement on local government efficiency. We thereby specifically focus on two research questions. First, does participatory democracy lead to higher local government efficiency and, if so, how? Second, does budget balance rule enforcement have an impact on local government efficiency and, if so, which are the levers pulled to comply with fiscal rules? Overall, addressing these two research questions will provide new insights and inform policy makers at different levels about the impact of participatory democracy experiences and about the effect of imposing budget restrictions from above.

During the three year postdoctoral research position, the postdoctoral researcher writes academic papers which will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, you assist prof. Kristof De Witte in the coordination of the Horizon Europe DemoTrans project.


The Research Center LEER (Faculty of Economics and Business - KU Leuven) is looking for an enthusiastic and motivated senior scholar. The candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • You obtained a PhD degree in Economics or Political Economics by September 2022.
  • You have strong skills in statistical, econometric and quantitative data analysis and experience with statistical packages; and are keen on developing these skills further.
  • You have an empirical mindset, and have a strong track record in terms of academic publications (either published or in the pipeline).
  • You have a keen interest in scientific research on political economics.
  • Enthusiastic and motivated to do research.
  • You are proficient in English, and you have very good scientific writing skills.
  • You are a team player who is able to work independently.
  • Offer
  • You will join a dynamic and internationally oriented research environment that focusses on political economics.
  • We offer a competitive full-time postdoctoral position. The position is for 3 years, conditional upon a positive evaluation after 1 year.

  • We offer additional benefits in terms of health insurance, reduced public transport prices, free bicycle use, access to university sports facilities, …

  • KU Leuven offers opportunities to follow academic, skills and career training courses.
  • You are expected to participate in seminars and will occasionally be involved in teaching activities including supervision of exams.
  • Start date – The academic year starts on September 1, 2022, but there is some flexibility to start at a different moment in time.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kristof De Witte, tel.: +32 16 32 66 56, mail:

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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