In my research, I use empirical and theoretical (positive and normative) approaches. My publications illustrate the four main fields in my research profile. The first, intergovernmental transfers and the incentives for unification and separation, studies the incentives of regions/countries to unite and to separate. This focuses on research questions closely related to inter-jurisdictional cooperation in the provision of public goods and the appearance and dissolution of borders, within nations but also between nations. It considers the effect of intergovernmental transfers on the incentives for municipal consolidation, and on how intergovernmental transfers can soften the budget constraint. The second, contest success functions, sheds light on the differences between the two main contest success functions, the ratio and the difference contest-success functions. The third, voting in the Council of Ministers, focusses on the positions that member states of the European Union take in the Council of Ministers. The fourth, the functioning of democracy, studies the effects of potential reforms of democratic institutions. In addition, I have published papers on other topics, either because I was invited to write a contribution based on my expertise, or in order to publish valuable results of a student’s MSc thesis that I have supervised. The former has led to, for instance, contributions studying the effect of government intervention on allocative and productive efficiency, while the latter has led to contributions examining the role of religion on socioeconomic attitudes, or the effect of government intervention on economic growth.
The academic papers based on my research are published in several international peer-reviewed journals. These outlets include respected field journals, like International Tax and Public Finance, a general interest journal like European Economic Review, and journals with an interdisciplinary readership like Public Choice and the Journal of Common Market Studies. I also advance the academic discourse as a member of the editorial board of the journal Research in World Economy. Next to this, based on my research insights, I have contributed numerous times to the public discourse with newspaper and popular science articles. Finally, I served as an external expert of the Committee on the Future Viability of Democracy, evoked by the Dutch government. This Committee advised the government on improving the functioning of political processes in the Netherlands.