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Reconnecting citizens to the administrative state?



Project Partners: London School of Economics & Political Science, Kings College London, Leiden University, Norwegian Business School, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals

Start Date: 1st November 2020
End Date: 31st December 2023

Project summary

The current age of political turbulence – expressed through citizen dissatisfaction and populist politics – represents a fundamental challenge to the authority of the institutions of the administrative state. As public administration is central to democratic governance, as it connects citizens to the state, it is central to explore sources of citizen disconnection and administrative efforts to reconnect citizens with the state.

RECONNECT investigates how calls for more ‘responsive’ administrative state institutions have developed – both among citizens and politicians – and how the administrative state has sought to become more responsive, especially when simultaneously faced with expectations of neutrality and impartiality.

RECONNECT explores, across European states, five distinct citizen-focused dimensions of the administrative state: constitutional, regulatory, enabling, consumer-protecting and consulting dimensions. Using a mixed-methods approach, including attitudinal, media, document and interview analysis, RECONNECT generates new knowledge to compare and explain variation across both European jurisdictions and dimensions of the administrative state. In the process, the project contributes to academic and practitioner debates regarding the future of the administrative state, and to a better understanding of how citizens can be reconnected to wider democratic governance and the administrative state in particular.

Reconnect Ethics and Data Management

Knowledge Exchange & Dissemination Plan


London School of Economics and Political Science, Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation

Martin Lodge, Project Leader

David Wilson, Research Officer

King's College London

Christel Koop, Principal Investigator

Alena Pivavarava, Research Associate

Leiden University

Caelesta Braun, Principal Investigator

Moritz Müller, Postdoctoral Researcher

Norwegian Business School

Nick Sitter, Principal Investigator

Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals

Jacint Jordana, Principal Investigator

Juan Carlos Triviño Salazar, Research Fellow


Constitution and Governance in the UK, a report from UK in a Changing Europe, 29 March 2022, p.50, “Arm’s-length bodies” by Christel Koop and Martin Lodge

Yesilkagit, K., Braun, C., Muller, M., Vossen, R. and Hobma, I. 2022. Basismonitor overheid op afstand. [ government at arms length, research for Dutch ministry of the Interior, July 2022. Basismonitor-Overheid-op-Afstand_Rapport_Universiteit-Leiden_juli-2022.pdf (

Behavioural insights and regulatory authorities, Lodge, M and Wegrich, K, Handbook of Regulatory Authorities (edited by M. Maggetti, F. Di Mascio, A. Natalini, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham,  2022, p.457-70.

Lodge, Martin and Wegrich, Kai (2023) Gute Verwaltung: radikale Reformen helfen nur den Beratern nicht den Bürgern’ Tagesspiegel, 17/1/2023,

The adoption of digital practices by economic regulators: Mapping digital pathways for consumer e-participation, Alena Pivavarava & Christel Koop, University of Oxford Department of Economics, Discussion Paper Series, No. 1013, July 2023, University of Oxford, Department of Economics, Oxford, UK, 2023, p.1-61.

Issue segmentation by public agencies: Assessing communication strategies of EU agencies related to Covid-19, Müller, M. and Fraussen, B, Governance, Wiley, New York, 2023.

The core of organizational reputation: taking multidimensionality, audience multiplicity, and agency subunits seriously, Binderkrantz, A., Blom-Hansen, J., Baekgaard, M., Müller, M. and Serritzlew, S., Journal of European Public Policy, Taylor & Francis, Oxford 2023.

Exploring the potential and limits of digital tools for inclusive regulatory engagement with citizens, Christopher Townley & Christel Koop, Government Information Quarterly,      Accepted for publication on 6 Dec 2023, Elsevier, Amsterdam, NL, 2024.

Knowledge Exchange

A private briefing to the Industry and Regulators Committee, House of Lords, Martin Lodge, 5 April 2022.

Events and Conferences


 ‘Comity: Multilaterism in the new cold war’, Speaker; Frank Vibert, Discussant: Nick Sitter (link to WP1), 2 November 2021

‘The politics of experimental regulatory policy-making’ (Kai Wegrich, Hertie School, 20 October 2022)

Re-Connect workshop, “Vulnerability in Regulation” workshop, LSE, 21 September 2023 (involving WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4)


“Regulatory Engagement with Citizens: Potential and Limits”, international, in-person workshop organised at King’s College London on 13 March 2023, including academics and practitioners (regulators and civil society).

“Citizen Input in Regulation: Potential and Limits of Digital Tools”, hybrid workshop organised at King’s College London on 23 March 2023, including academics and practitioners.


WP 5 co-chaired an ECPR Joint Sessions workshop on stakeholder engagement & bureaucratic politics in Toulouse 25-28 April 2023 to relate the module’s research on consultation to the wider field and network of stakeholder participation and bureaucratic politics.

Funding Acknowledgements

The project RECONNECT is financially supported by the NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age and co-funded by AEI, ESRC, NWO and RCN, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 822166

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