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Welcome! I’m Assistant Professor at the University of Lausanne’s IDHEAP (the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration). I lead the IDHEAP‘s research group on public administration and political institutions

 

I received my PhD from the University of Bern, Switzerland in 2018 and held postdoctoral positions at UC Berkeley, Brown University, and LMU Munich.

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On this site you’ll find information about my past and present research, publications, and career.

 

Contact: markus@markushinterleitner.com

Research

My research and teaching construes the state as a problem-solving device that allows modern and complex societies to address and overcome all kinds of challenges.

 

I‘m particularly interested in contemporary developments that threaten to undermine the problem-solving power of the state, in particular the intensification of political conflict and the growth of policies, rules and regulations. Intensified conflict can polarize societies, damage their institutions and distract them from “really big” problems. An important focus of my research is to identify the factors that allow societies to address problems and manage conflicts under heightened pressure. Policy growth, for its part, threatens to overburden public administrations and undermine the implementation of policies. My research analyzes the causes and consequences of policy growth and seeks to support public administrations in handling more complex tasks and coping with greater implementation loads.

 

I have worked on a number of related projects within this broader framework.

 

My Work on Policy Controversies and Political Blame Games

This line of work investigates how politicians act ‘under pressure’, i.e. when blame from citizens, the opposition, or the media threatens their re-election prospects and the policies they support. Blame games are political events that develop on the occasion of controversial or problematic issues when politicians begin to blame each other. I have conceptualized blame games as microcosms of conflictual politics, the study of which tells us a great deal of how political systems change if they switch into conflict mode. Political systems are in conflict mode when they have to solve problems and find answers to their citizens’ demands under more conflictual conditions. One of the central insights of my research on blame games is that countries have their own very peculiar – and more or less successful – ways of managing their political and policy problems during blame games.

 

My Work on Blame-Seeking and the Erosion of Democratic Norms

Existing research on norm erosion and democratic backsliding primarily focuses on why many politicians nowadays are eager to violate democratic norms. What existing research usually neglects is how politicians do so without being ostracized. After all, it’s very puzzling that established politicians and parties seem unable to stop norm violators. My research tackles this peculiarity by zooming in on the conflicts between norm violators and established politicians who want to preserve the democratic rules of the game. A particular focus is on the elaborate „blame-seeking“ strategies that illiberal politicians increasingly employ to provoke and distinguish themselves from the political establishment. This project contributes to our understanding conflicts about the (re)interpretation of democratic institutions.

 

My Work on Public Administration and Policy Implementation Under Pressure

Although long ago Pressman and Wildavsky, two pioneering implementation scholars, informed political scientists that ‘High hopes in Washington are often dashed in Oakland’, political scientists still seldom look beyond Washington when examining the implications of conflictual politics. My work on public administration and policy implementation under pressure seeks to change that. This project examines the implications of intensified political conflict for administrators. My research suggests that front-line workers, such as youth advocates, often implement policies in ways that run contrary to the ideas embodied in these policies in order to shield themselves from the conflict that rages at the political level.

 

My Work on Policy Growth and Administrative Overburdening

My current research on policy growth explores the reasons for why countries adopt ever more rules and regulations and examines how growing policy portfolios can overburden public administrations. This project shows that policies adopted in response to increasing public demands (relating to issues such as social protection or public health) only have the desired effect if governments expand implementation capacities in lockstep with newly adopted policies. My research, on which I collaborate with Xavier Fernández-i-Marín, Christoph Knill, and Yves Steinebach, suggests that democracies need to radically expand their administrative capacities if they want to remain effective problem-solvers.

Bio & CV

I’m currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Lausanne’s IDHEAP (the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration).

 

Previous Experience

 

  • March 2021 – July 2023: PostDoc at LMU Munich’s Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science
  • January 2020 – December 2020: PostDoc at Brown University’s Watson Institute
  • January 2019 – December 2019: PostDoc at UC Berkeley’s Institute of European Studies
  • March 2018 – December 2018: PostDoc at the KPM Center for Public Management, University of Bern
  • April 2014 – February 2018: PhD Student at the KPM Center for Public Management, University of Bern
  • September 2011 – July 2013: Master of Arts (M.A.) in Public Management and Policy, University of Bern
  • October 2008 – July 2011: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Business Administration, LMU Munich

 

Find a detailed [CV]

 

My official University of Lausanne website is here

Publications

 

Book

 

  1. Hinterleitner, Markus (2020). Policy Controversies and Political Blame Games. New York: Cambridge University Press. [available as Open Access] [blog post]

    Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, Political Studies ReviewJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis, and the Swiss Political Science Review
Edited book

 

  1. Flinders, Matthew, Gergana Dimova, Markus Hinterleitner, R. A. W. Rhodes, and Kent Weaver (forthcoming). The Politics and Governance of Blame. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Articles (21)

 

  1. Fernández-i-Marín, Xavier, Markus Hinterleitner, Christoph Knill, and Yves Steinebach (2024). “Testing Theories of Policy Growth: Public Demands, Interest Group Politics, Electoral Competition, and Institutional Fragmentation“, Journal of European Public Policy, forthcoming.
  2. Hinterleitner, Markus, Valentina Kammermeier, and Benjamin Moffitt (2023). “How the Populist Radical Right Exploits Crisis: Comparing the Role of Proximity in the COVID-19 and Refugee Crises in Germany”, West European Politics, early view. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  3. Fernández-i-Marín, Xavier, Markus Hinterleitner, Christoph Knill, and Yves Steinebach (2023). “Bureaucratic Overburdening in Advanced Democracies”, Public Administration Review, early view. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  4. Fernández-i-Marín, Xavier, Markus Hinterleitner, Christoph Knill, and Yves Steinebach (2023). “Policy Growth, Implementation Capacities, and the Effect on Policy Performance”, Governance, early view. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  5. Hinterleitner, Markus, Christoph Knill, and Yves Steinebach (2023). “The Growth of Policies, Rules, and Regulations: A Review of the Literature and Research Agenda”, Regulation & Governance, early view. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  6. Hinterleitner, Markus (2023). “Blame Games and Democratic Responsiveness”, European Journal of Political Research, 62 (4), 1235-1256. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  7. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2023). “Political Challengers and Norm Erosion in Advanced Democracies”, European Journal of Political Research, 62 (4), 1301-1319. [PDF] [link to publisher].
  8. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Stefan Wittwer (2023). “Serving Quarreling Masters: Frontline Workers and Policy Implementation under Pressure”, Governance, 36 (3), 759-778. [PDF] [link to publisher].
  9. Hinterleitner, Markus, Céline Honegger, and Fritz Sager (2022). “Blame Avoidance in Hard Times: Complex Governance Structures and the COVID-19 Pandemic”, West European Politics, 46 (2), 324-346. [PDF] [link to publisher].
  10. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2022). “Policy’s Role in Democratic Conflict Management”, Policy Sciences, 55 (2), 239-254. [PDF] [link to publisher].
  11. Matthew Flinders, and Markus Hinterleitner (2022). “Party Politics Vs. Grievance Politics: Competing Modes of Representative Democracy”, Society, 59, 672-681. [PDF] [link to publisher].
  12. Hinterleitner, Markus, David Kaufmann, and Eva Thomann (2022). “The fit between regulatory instruments and targets: Regulating the economic integration of migrants”, Regulation & Governance, 16 (3), 892-909. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  13. Sager, Fritz, Céline Mavrot, Markus Hinterleitner, David Kaufmann, Martin Grosjean, and Thomas F. Stocker (2020). “Utilization-focused Scientific Policy Advice: A Six-Point Checklist”, Climate Policy, 20 (10), 1336-1343. [PDF] [link to publisher] [blog post]
  14. Hinterleitner, Markus (2019). “Salami tactics and the implementation of large-scale public projects”, Journal of European Public Policy, 26(11), 1696-1714. [PDF] [link to publisher] Featured on the JEPP Online Blog
  15. Hinterleitner, Markus (2018). “Policy Failures, Blame Games, and Changes to Policy Practice”, Journal of Public Policy, 38(2), 221-242. [PDF] [link to publisher]  Featured on DeFacto and on Higgs
  16. Hinterleitner, Markus (2017). “Reconciling Perspectives on Blame Avoidance Behavior”, Political Studies Review, 15(2), 243-254. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  17. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2017). “Anticipatory and Reactive Forms of Blame Avoidance: Of Foxes and Lions”, European Political Science Review, 9(4), 587-606. [PDF] [link to publisher] Featured on the LSE British Politics and Policy Blog
  18. Hinterleitner, Markus, Fritz Sager, and Eva Thomann (2016). “The Politics of External Approval: Explaining the IMF’s Evaluation of Austerity Programmes”, European Journal of Political Research, 55(3), 549-567. [PDF] [link to publisher] Featured on the LSE EUROPP Blog and on the Democratic Audit Blog
  19. Sager, Fritz, and Markus Hinterleitner (2016). “How Do Credit Rating Agencies Rate? An Implementation Perspective on the Assessment of Austerity Programs during the European Debt Crisis”, Politics & Policy, 44(4), 783-815. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  20. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2015). “Avoiding Blame—a Comprehensive Framework and the Australian Home Insulation Program Fiasco”, Policy Studies Journal, 43(1), 139-161. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  21. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Christian Rosser (2015). “Regulation and the Management of Expectations—Rating Agencies Revisited”, European Policy Analysis, 1(2), 71-89. [PDF] [link to publisher]
Contributions to books (9)

 

  1. Hinterleitner, Markus (forthcoming). “Governmental Blame Avoidance in the European Union”, in Flinders et al. (eds.). The Politics and Governance of Blame. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Dimova, Gergana, Matthew Flinders, Markus Hinterleitner, R. A. W. Rhodes and Kent Weaver (forthcoming). “The State of the Field: Maps, Gaps and Traps”, in Flinders et al. (eds.). The Politics and Governance of Blame. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Flinders, Matthew, Markus Hinterleitner, and Kent Weaver (forthcoming). “Politicians as Blame-Seekers”, in Flinders et al. (eds.). The Politics and Governance of Blame. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Hinterleitner, Markus (2023). “Blame Avoidance in Public Policy”, in van Gerven et al. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Public Policy. New York: Springer. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  5. Fritz Sager, and Markus Hinterleitner (2022). “The Politics of Policy Implementation – A Reassessment in More Conflictual Times”, in Andreas Ladner and Fritz Sager (eds.). Edward Elgar Handbook on the Politics of Public Administration. London: Edward Elgar. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  6. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2019). “Governing Elites under Pressure: Blame Avoidance Strategies and Welfare State Retrenchment”, in Careja, Romana, Patrick Emmenegger, and Nathalie Giger (eds.). Work and Welfare in a Changing World. New York: Springer. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  7. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2019). “Krisenmanagement und Risikovermeidung”, in Ritz, Adrian, Theo Haldemann, and Fritz Sager (eds.). Blackbox Exekutive – Regierungslehre in der Schweiz. Zürich: NZZlibro. [PDF] [link to publisher] Featured on DeFacto
  8. Hinterleitner, Markus, and Fritz Sager (2018). “Blame, reputation and organizational responses to a politicized climate”, in Bach, Tobias, and Kai Wegrich (eds.). The blind spots of public bureaucracy and the politics of non‐coordination. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [PDF] [link to publisher]
  9. Sager, Fritz, and Markus Hinterleitner (2014). “Evaluation”, in Schubert, Klaus, and Nils Bandelow (eds.). Lehrbuch der Politikfeldanalyse. München: Oldenbourg, pp. 437-462. [PDF] [link to publisher]

 

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