Team members

Prof. dr. Barbara Vis

Barbara Vis (2) (30K) Barbara Vis is directing the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project, for which she received a Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and which runs from 2012 until 2017. Per 1 September 2017, Barbara is Full Professor of Politics and Governance at the Utrecht University School of Governance.

Before joining Utrecht University, Barbara was Full Professor in Political Decision-Making on a Fenna Diemer Lindeboom Chair at the Department of Political Science of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She teaches, or has taught, courses on among other topics comparative politics, decision making, configurational comparative methods (especially QCA) and political economy. Barbara studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and received her PhD from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (cum laude, with distinction). From 2009-2012, most of her research took place in the context of a Veni-project entitled 'Politics of Risk-Taking', funded by a Veni grant from NWO.

Barbara is a board member of the Netherlands Institute of Government, of Compasss, a network of 1,800+ scholars and practioners interested in theoretical, methodological and practical advancements in systematic comparative case research, and a former board member of the Dutch Organisation for Political Science (NKWP (2009-2015)). She is also senior associate editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in Political Decision Making.

For more information on Barbara's work, please check out her personal website at

Dieuwertje Kuijpers, MA

Dieuwertje Kuijpers Dieuwertje Kuijpers studied European Union Studies, and Italian Language and Culture at Leiden University. For one year, she studied Philosophy and Medievalism at the University of Udine, in Northern Italy. Her MA-thesis concentrated on international military co-operation and used the Balkan Wars as a blueprint to compare the effectiveness of NATO and EU-led military operations. As a PhD-candidate for the 'High Risk Politics'-project, her objective is to assess empirically - by taking a closer look at military interventions - why some governments take decisions involving substantial electoral risks while others do not.

She is also co-founder of and regular contributor to a Dutch International Relations and Defence-blog, and secretary of the national Defence Committee of the Dutch liberal party (VVD).

Dr. Mariken van der Velden

Mariken van der Velden Mariken van der Velden studied Political Science (BA) and the Research Master Social Science - specialized in comparative politics and quantitative research methods - at the University of Amsterdam. Her MA-thesis concentrated on the conditions under which voters sanction coalition-governments for welfare retrenchment. As a PhD-candidate for the 'High Risk Politics' project, her objective is to explain why political parties change their policy position and risk turning their voters away. The degree to which political actors take such electoral risks varies substantially. Existing explanations are unable to explain this variation and this project aims to contribute to this scholarly debate using prospect theory.

Per 1 January 2017, Mariken is working as a postdoc at the Chair of Policy Analysis, directed by prof. dr. Fabrizio Gilardi, at the University of Zurich. She will publicly defend her PhD thesis on 20 December 2017.

Dr. Sjoerd Stolwijk

Sjoerd (74K) Sjoerd Stolwijk studied Political Science (MA) at Leiden University, and Policy, Communication and Organization (BCO, MSc) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He defended his PhD dissertation in Political Communication (University of Amsterdam) in February 2017. In his dissertation, Sjoerd studied the effects of opinion polls on media content and voters. In his work, Sjoerd is especially interested in the influence of emotions and time on (political) decision making processes. His work has appeared in International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and in Mobilization: An International Quarterly. Starting as a postdoc in the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project from January 2017 onwards, he will investigate how politicians deal with complexity when facing risky choices. Sjoerd will also aim to propose a theoretical framework to integrate the various findings of the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project, and organize a concluding conference to share its insights.

Dr. Gijs Schumacher

GijsSchumacher Gijs Schumacher is an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. He has been affliated to the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project from the start. Before his position at the University of Amsterdam, Gijs was an assistant professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and an affiliated researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research interests are decision-making and institutions and he has published on party organization, elite framing, mass-elite linkages, representation, party change, the radical right, social democratic parties and welfare policies. His research on intra-party decision-making and representation has been financed by the Danish Council for Independent Research - via a postdoctoral grant and the Sapere Aude Ung Eliteforsker project (about €360,000).

Gijs work has appeared in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Party Politics, West European Politics, Electoral Studies, European Political Science Review, Comparative European Politics, Acta Politica and the Journal for Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. He is also a co-founder and commentator on, a Dutch political science blog. His dissertation "Modernize or Die?" Social Democrats, Welfare State Retrenchment and the Choice between Office and Policy was awarded with the Jaarprijs Politicologie 2013, a prize for the best dissertation written by a Dutch or Flemish researcher abroad or a researcher at a Dutch or Belgian university. He is also an alummnus of the University of Amsterdam, University of Hong Kong and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more information, see

Prof. dr. Wolfgang Wagner

WolfgangWagner Wolfgang Wagner is full professor in International Security, Head of Department of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, co-director of ACCESS Europe, and affliated to the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project. He studied Political Science and German literature at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Frankfurt/Main (Germany) in 2001. Prior to his position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, F from 2002 to 2007, Wolfgang worked at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and taught in Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Mannheim and Konstanz.

Wolfgang's research interests are comparative foreign policy analysis, the interplay between domestic politics and international conflict and the democratic control of government decisions to use military force. His work has appeared in Journal of Peace Research, Armed Forces and Society, The Nonproliferation Review, Review of International Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, Journal of European Public Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, Journal of International Relations and Development, and Politische Vierteljahresschrift and Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen.

For more information, see Wolfgang Wagner's personal homepage.

Former team member

Dr. Jona Linde

Jona Linde Jona Linde obtained his PhD in behavioral economics from the University of Amsterdam in March 2012 and has worked as a postdoc in the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project from October 2013 until July 2015. Currently, he is an assistant professor in Economics at Maastricht University.

Through his research, Jona attempts to broaden the applicability of behavioral economic theories to new types of decisions, in recent years to education at the TIER institute at the University of Amsterdam and to political decision making in the HIGH-RISK POLITICS project. With Barbara Vis, he has examined experimentally whether politicians response to risk is different from that of other people. Jona is a candidate fellow of the Tinbergen Institute and alumnus of the Tinbergen Institute MPhil program (2008). His research interests include political decision making, behavioral economics and decision making under risk.

For more information, see Jona Linde’s personal homepage.