Call for Papers for a Symposium in Public AdministrationIntegration, functional differentiation and problem-solving in multilevel governance: a comparative perspective

06/09/2017 Mammadli Aysel


Integration, functional differentiation and problem-solving in multilevel governance: a comparative perspective.This symposium seeks to deepen our understanding of the problem-solving capacity of multilevel governance, by adopting a comparative
perspective and drawing from different theoretical lenses. Accordingly, the contributions engage in theory-building on multilevel governance, notably concerning the relation between integration, functional differentiation and effective problem-solving.

Deadline for abstracts is 22 September 2017. 

The symposium gathers contributions that analyze the problem-solving capacity of multilevel governance settings and allow for a theoretical conclusion about responses to policy challenges in multilevel contexts. For example, we seek contributions that approach the EU from a comparative perspective and that explicitly use theoretical, analytical or empirical insights from different varieties of the multilevel governance literature, other strands of literature, and from the investigation of empirical cases. Comparable cases include, for example, multilevel governance systems in other regions; other inter- and supranational organizations that span across different levels; and federal states. Useful theoretical and practical insights may be gained from the literature on democratic participation, policy integration, management reforms, risk regulation, policy learning, and implementation theory, to only mention a few.


Potentially successful contributions make an explicit point on the comparison in which they engage, and pose research questions such as the following:

  • How does the EU and other systems of multilevel governance (e.g., supranational organizations or federal states) compare in their relation of integration and problemsolving capacity?
  • How do different degrees of integration and/or functional differentiation (not) affect problem-solving capacity for governments at different levels in the multilevel system?
  • How do times of crisis and/or turbulence impact on problem-solving capacity in different configurations of integration and/or functional differentiation?
  • How do integration, functional differentiation and problem-solving evolve in various multilevel contexts?
  • Under which degrees of (institutional, policy, political) integration and/or functional differentiation do political conflicts impede effective problem-solving in multilevel governance systems?


Potentially successful contributions include:

  • Comparative empirical analyses of integration, functional differentiation and problem-solving in multilevel contexts that compare the EU to other cases, or compare different policy sectors within the EU;
  • Empirical analyses that make a theoretical contribution to integration, functional differentiation, and problem-solving in multilevel governance using other cases than the EU, or different theoretical perspectives that can inform the EU literature;
  • Literature reviews that go beyond discussing the state of the art regarding integration and problem-solving in multilevel governance by providing a novel and stretching argument or insight and hence make a valuable and original contribution to multilevel governance theory.


Authors who are interested in contributing a paper should email an abstract of 500 words to the guest editors by September 22.


Timeline (tentative)

September 1, 2017: Communication of call for papers

October 1, 2017: Selection of papers
November 15, 2017: Deadline for draft papers

December1, 2017: Authors’ workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland

February 1, 2018: Submission of manuscripts, Start of official review procedure