Monthly Archives: May 2017

Climate Change and Underwhelming Policy Responses

In our project on excessive policy volatility we also look at cases in which either nothing substantial gets really done in policy making or in which even ‘progressive’ change often has feet of clay. In a recent article, Michael Howlett and I illustrate this logic of disproportionality in policy making with the case of climate change policies. We see that risk averse governments still have two main ways of justifying inaction (or even negative, anti-reactions): either denying the problem or fatalistically accepting it. In this we follow the recent literature on disproportionate policy responses and also the older literature on blame avoidance and risk averse governments.


Here is the link:

Send me an email, if you would like the ungated version.

Here is also our abstract:

We apply insights from the recent literature on disproportionate policy reactions to the case of climate change policy-making. We show when and why climate change exhibits features of a sustained under-reaction: Governments may react to concerns about climate change not through substantive change but by efforts to manage blame strategically. As long as they can avoid blame for potential negative policy outcomes policy-makers can act to deny problems, or implement only small-scale or symbolic reforms. While this pattern may change as climate change problems worsen and public recognition of the issue and what can be done about it alters, opportunities to manage blame will still exist. Governments will only revert to more substantive interventions when attempts to fatalistically frame the problem as unavoidable fail in the face of increased public visibility.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

PostDoc Position in IPE, Switzerland, Steffie Walter


The Institute for Political Science at the University of Zurich invites applications for a position as


Post-doctoral researcher („Oberassistenz“) 


at the Chair of International Relations and Political Economy (Prof. Dr. Stefanie Walter).



The Department of Political Science offers excellent research support in a vibrant research community and is committed to advancing young scholars’ careers.


The post-doctoral researcher will pursue his or her own research agenda in the fields of international relations and international political economy and produce scholarship with the potential for publication in top outlets. He or she will contribute to teaching in the fields of international relations and political economy (3 hours per week, which translates into a 1-2 teaching load), advising of students and doctoral candidates, and some administrative tasks. Collaboration in research projects running at the Chair and the Department is encouraged.


The successful candidate

  • demonstrates a strong interest in research and the potential to develop an internationally recognized research track record in international political economy, proven through peer-reviewed publications, third-party funding, and/or related research activities.
  • holds a PhD in political science or international relations (or is close to completion).
  • possesses strong methodological skills.
  • demonstrates the willingness and ability to engage in high-quality teaching, proven through teaching evaluations, didactical training etc.
  • is motivated to pursue an academic career.
  • is able to work both independently and in a team.
  • has a strong command of English and good working knowledge of German.

The starting date for the position is 1 September 2017. A minimum of two-year commitment is requested; renewal up to six years is possible and contingent on research productivity, teaching quality, and continued substantive fit. The salary is 80.000 CHF/year. Limited funding for conference travel etc. is available.


Further enquiries can be directed to Prof. Stefanie Walter ( Information about the research and teaching activities at the Chair of International Relations and Political Economy is available at



Please send your application electronically as one pdf-file comprising your motivation letter, CV, publication list, brief proposal for a postdoctoral project (1 page), transcripts, teaching evaluations (if available), and the names of two references to the secretariat of the Institute for Political Science ( Deadline for applications is 31 May 2017.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized