TROPICO young research network, part II – ongoing research: Interministerial collaboration and citizen involvement in legislation

27 Jun 2019 | Published by Samuel Defacqz

The TROPICO project includes a large number of young researchers engaging in the essential work of the project. In the series “TROPICO young research network” we present some of our outstanding PhD students and postdocs. In this post, Samuel from CNRS, France, blogs about his work:

My name is Samuel Defacqz and I work as a postdoctoral researcher at Pacte, the CNRS social sciences research center at Sciences Po Grenoble, France. I hold a master degree in public management and policy analysis and I received my doctorate in political science from UCLouvain in 2018 with the thesis: The Internal Legitimacy of European Interest Groups: Analyses of National Interest Groups Perspectives. This research aimed to investigate the relations between national interest groups and European groups representing them in Brussels through the prism of organizational legitimacy. The objective was to put in perspective the puzzling disconnection between national groups and European groups highlighted by the literature so far. One of the findings of my thesis is that national groups legitimize their European groups not as faithful transmitters of national positions, but as trusted champions of political objectives to which national groups broadly adhere.

My research interests include public administration, interest groups politics, European civil society and organizational legitimacy. I am also a member of the Management Team of the network COMPASSS (COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analySis). I am currently working under the supervision of Claire Dupuy on TROPICO’s work packages 4 and 5, both of which are investigating collaborative practices in public administrations for policy design.

For WP4, we analyze the case of Chorus, a financial information system of central state administrations in France. Chorus is used by all French ministries’ administrations, at the national and subnational levels, to collect, trace, store, and interpret financial data for optimal financial management and planning. For instance, it allows policy-makers to know exactly and in real time the financial situation of the central state, a ministry or a given policy program. Previous attempts to introduce similar collaborative ICT applications for policy design in France have failed. Chorus, being an unprecedented successful inter-ministerial collaboration, is therefore highly relevant to analyze further. This case study focuses on how an ICT tool shapes internal collaboration practices in state administrations. Moreover, we also consider several explanations that combine institutional, political, organizational and cognitive factors in order to analyze the successful implementation of Chorus. This case study relies on data collected through desk research and eight semi-structured interviews.

For WP5, we are studying Parlement & Citoyens, an online platform connecting citizens with legislators for legislative co-construction. This case is particularly fascinating given the current French context, marked by a high level of citizens’ mistrust towards political elites (i.e. the movement of Yellow Vests) and the growing usage of civic-techs (i.e. initiatives seeking to transform and improve democracy through digital tools) by public authorities in France. One of the objective of our case study is to identify why legislators – actors standing at the center of representative democracy – do make use of participatory democracy tools. Moreover, through the analysis of 10 interviews, we identified four factors explaining the success of a consultation in terms of participation and impact on policy design.

Through my work on both of these WPs, TROPICO gives me an opportunity to participate in an international research project which I am sure will result in fruitful collaborations.