Conférence IDHEAP | Eva Thomann - January 22, 2024

Bringing street-level bureaucrats’ behaviour and accountability regimes into policy evaluation

Monday, January 22, 2024


The IDHEAP is pleased to welcome Eva Thomann for a talk on "Bringing street-level bureaucrats' behaviour and accountability regimes into policy evaluation".


How does the behavior of those who represent the frontlines of government policy influence the effects of policies in practice? Street-level bureaucrats (SLBs) are policy implementers who operate at the bottom of public organizations and are responsible either for delivering public services or implementing sanctions. Their discretion makes them de facto policymakers, while their interactions with citizens crucially shape compliance and take-up. Hence, in evaluating policy, the link between SLBs and the end products of the political-administrative implementation process is critical.  

Five key points for evaluators are put forward.  First, the outputs of policies are crucially shaped by the behavior of SLBs who are boundedly rational humans. Second, SLBs’ attitudes toward policies are a key determinant of practical policy outputs. Third, SLBs cope with their work contexts and administrative burdens in ways that alter the outcomes for target groups for better or worse. Fourth, the personalities and enforcement styles of SLBs contribute crucially to policy enforcement. Fifth, heuristics and biases shape how SLBs react to policies and encounters with clients – with broader societal implications.


Eva Thomann is a professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz and completed her PhD in Public Administration at the University of Bern in 2015.  Her research deals with policy implementation, street-level bureaucracy, Europeanization, and case-oriented and set-theoretic methods. Eva Thomann serves in the executive/advisory boards of the European Group for Public Administration (former), COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analysis (COMPASSS), the Netherlands Institute of Government, and the International Research Society for Public Management. She teaches Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and is the founder and academic convenor of the Konstanz Methods Excellence Workshops (KOMEX). She serves as a co-editor of the journal Regulation & Governance and is editorial board member of the Swiss Political Science Review, the Journal of European Public Policy, the Policy Studies Journal, the International Journal of Public Sector Management and the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis.

Program :

15h00 Introduction by professor Oliver Neumann

15h15 Talk by professor Eva Thomann

16h15 Q&A

17h00 Apéritif

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