Research Projects

My projects fall into three categories: Fiscal redistribution in the European Union, climate governance, and legitimacy in global governance.

    Fiscal redistribution in the European Union


    The choice for Europe since Maastricht: Member states' preferences for economic and financial policy (Horizon 2020, 2015-2019)

    This Horizon-funded project focuses on EU member states’ fiscal policy positions during and in the aftermath of the global financial crisis 2007–2008. Many models of a fiscal union have been proposed and discussed. What is missing are not ideas and economic analysis, but the political consensus among member states’ governments for a specific integration path. To understand why EU member states collectively responded to the recent global financial crisis through fiscal policy reforms the way they did, we study the positions of member states’ governments on different models of a fiscal union in the project The choice for Europe since Maastricht: Member states' preferences for economic and financial policy. I am a co-investigator for this project (principal investigator: Jonas Tallberg), which is part of a Europe-wide consortium coordinated by Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann at the University of Salzburg.

      Global governance and sustainable development


      Sustainable development in a changing geo-political era: Challenges and opportunities for Sweden (Mistra, 2017-2020)

      While there is widespread agreement on the potentially disastrous consequences of ongoing processes of environmental change, we know little about the governance responses by states and international environmental institutions (IEIs) to address policy challenges related to geopolitical and environmental dynamics. Governance responses refer to institutions, organizations, and policies put in place for the purpose of addressing a given societal problem. We need to better understand governance responses to climate security dynamics, which may have far-reaching implications for the prospects of global governance toward sustainable development.

      My research within the research program Mistra GEOPOLITICS, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) (principal investigator: Björn-Ola Linnér at the University of Linköping), addresses this research problem. It examines how the dynamics of geopolitics, human security, and global environmental change interrelate. It concerns how our society needs to be reformed in order to address increasing resource scarcity while securing a positive development and political stability in the 21st Century - an epoch referred to as the 'Anthropocene'. The program brings together six Swedish core partners: the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and the universities of Linköping, Lund, Stockholm, and Uppsala.

      I lead the work package on 'Governance responses to climate related security risks' at Stockholm University, which seeks to understand states and IEIs’ governance responses to climate security challenges, and the roles of transnational actors, such as civil society organizations and multinational corporations, in shaping the effectiveness of IEIs’ governance responses.


      Climate change, natural disasters, and human responses (Bolin Centre and Board of Environmental Research members in the Human Sciences at Stockholm University, 2018-2019).

      Future changes in climate may impact the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, both in the developed and the developing world, posing a significant challenge to the international community. It is important to understand how, why and to what degree the international community provides disaster relief to communities and countries. Previous studies have mainly focused on how news media report on disasters and the effects of disasters on economic growth. We know little about why some disasters receive more attention from the international community than others.

      This project analyzes trends of disaster relief and seeks to explain variation in international disaster relief. Its purpose is to collect original climatic, political and economic data, and to use these data to explain variation in disaster relief from the 1990s. The results seek to push theories on disaster governance forward, and will help understand – and improve – international disaster relief.

      I am principal investigator together with Frida Bender, PhD, from the Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University.


      Transnational governance of the university field (Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds/Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, 2016-2020).

      This project focuses predominantly on the roles and functions of transnational actors in global governance of universities and higher education. We seek to better understand the roles of intermediary organizations such as peak research associations, civil society organizations, foundations, and intergovernmental organizations, which diffuse ideas and norms between those who are governed (i.e. universities and research institutes) and those who govern (i.e. states delegating power to global governance arrangements).

      I am co-investigator for the research program Transnational governance of the university field (UniGov) funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds in collaboration with Formas, Forte, and the Swedish Research Council (principal investigator: Filip Wijkström at the Stockholm School of Economics).

        Legitimacy in global governance


        Elite communication and the social legitimacy of international organizations (Swedish Research Council, 2016-2020)

        Extensive research suggests that legitimacy makes it easier for international organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the African Union, to gain support for ambitious policy goals, secure ratification of negotiated agreements, and achieve domestic compliance with international rules. Yet, despite the importance of legitimacy for international cooperation, we know little about the process through which individual citizens and elites come to perceive of IOs as legitimate or not.

        I am principal investigator for the project Elite communication and the social legitimacy of international organizations funded by the Swedish Research Council. This project focuses on how, when and why political and societal elites, such as governments and civil society organizations, can change citizens' opinions about international organizations.


        Legitimacy in global governance (Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds/Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, 2016-2022)

        We analyze the sources, patterns, and consequences of international organizations' legitimacy in a research program entitled Legitimacy in global governance and funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds and led by Jonas Tallberg (“Legitimacy in Global Governance”), for which I am a co-investigator. In this research program, I coordinate the group focusing on the sources of IOs’ legitimacy, including Jonas Tallberg, Soetkin Verhaegen, and Jan Aart Scholte.

        Check out the project homepage at (principal investigator: Jonas Tallberg).

          Past projects


          Unequal Europe: Redistribution, reelection, and inequality in the European Union (Regional Studies Association, 2015-2017)

          This project, for which I was PI, examined the linkages between electoral politics, fiscal redistribution, and socio-economic inequalities in the EU. Drawing on welfare economics and the inequality and policy feedback literature, the project developed and tested a rational-choice institutionalist theory for how electoral politics and EU regional development funding combine in explaining socio-economic inequalities in the EU.


          Stockholm University, Department of Economic History and International Relations, Dr Lisa Dellmuth, SE-10691 Stockholm.

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