Prof. dr. B. (Barbara) Vis

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Professor in Political Decision-Making


See Barbara Vis’s personal website for more information.

Barbara Vis is Fenna Diemer Lindeboom Chair in Political Decision-Making. She is Director of Research of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and member of the Department’s Management Team; Head of Studies Politics of the bachelor program Philosophy, Politics & Economics and member of the Management Team of this program’s John Stuart Mill College; and co-theme leader of ACCESS Europe’s theme European Politics & Society.

Barbara holds an MA in Economics (2002), including a minor in Labour Studies, and an MSc in Political Science (2003) from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD (cum laude, with distinction) from the VU University Amsterdam (2008).

For her research, Barbara received prestigious grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): a VENI grant (2008) and a VIDI grant (2012).

She is a member of the Young Academy (De Jonge Akademie) of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences – a platform of young top-researchers (2014–) –, and of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen) (2015–). She is a board member of the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG) and serves in several advisory boards, including Compasss ( – a network striving to advance systematic comparative research, especially configurational logic, theoretically, methodologically and practically –, Acta Politica, and European Political Science Review. She is also senior associate editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in Political Decision Making. Moreover, she regularly contributes to the blog StukRoodVlees and will write contributions for  Brainwash Academy– a platform for a new generation of thinkers.


Barbara’s research mainly takes place in the VIDI-project ‘HIGH-RISK POLITICS: Explaining and improving political actors’ decision-making on electorally risky issues’ (2012-2017). In this project, she and her team study under which conditions different political actors (like governments) take for them electorally risky decisions on salient issues (like welfare state reform and military intervention). See for more information on the project.

Barbara’s research is embedded in the Departmental research program ‘Multi-Layered Governance in EUrope and Beyond’ and in the Faculty’s Institute for Societal Resilience (ISR).

Her two most recent books (both with Kees van Kersbergen) are De Verzorgingsstaat (The Welfare State), Amsterdam University Press (2016) and Comparative Welfare State Politics: Development, Opportunities and Reform, Cambridge University Press (2014).

Barbara’s work has been published in journals such as American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, European Political Science Review, Journal of European Social Policy, Sociological Methods and Research, and Political Psychology.


  • Political decision-making
  • Politics of welfare state reform
  • Behavior of political parties
  • Configurational comparative methods, like fsQCA


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Publications (Source: METIS VU)