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Decision-Making in Multi-level Governance Systems



This course introduces students to the variety of decision-making processes and procedures in international settings: from the densely institutionalized setting of European Union policymaking to the more informal and unregulated setting of global political decision-making. We will use a variety of decision-making theories (from rational choice/game-theoretical to discursive approaches and constructivist approaches) to explore such topics as power, conflict, collective choice, public choice, strategic behavior, and decision-making under uncertainty.

Course objectives

  • Understand and compare the key theories and concepts in state-of-the-art policy-making and decision-making literatures

  • Advanced understanding of how multi-level governance systems constrain or enable decision-making on complex transnational policy issues

  • Advanced understanding of the complexity of decision-making situations in which real actors are confronted with

  • Identify and apply effectively a relevant theoretical framework to analyze real life problems and cases in a conceptually rigorous manner

  • Critically evaluate the effects of various multi-level decision-making systems on the outputs and outcomes of international and European policy processes

  • Build, present and defend well-grounded arguments in oral communication


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminars: group presentations of the literature and simulation game

  • Further structured study (preparation for team presentations and writing final essay

  • Self-study (course reading)

Course Load

  • Lectures (7 hours)

  • Seminars (8 hours)

  • Further structured study (15 hours)

  • Self-study (110 hours)

Assessment method

  • Multiple choice quizzes (20%)

  • Group performance presentations and discussion (20%)

  • Individual written reflection note on simulation game (20%)

  • Individual take-home exam (40%)

In order to pass the course, students must receive 1) a grade of 5.5 or higher on the written assignments; 2) a grade of 5.5 or higher on the multiple choice quiz component; and 3) a grade of 5.5 or higher on ALL components averaged together.

A re-take for the individual written assignment and the individual written reflection rapport will be provided in the regular resit period. One additional quiz will be provided in the regular resit period for students who do not receive a grade of 5.5 or higher on the quiz component. If a student passes the written assignment components AND quiz component, but still has an insufficient grade (5.0 or lower), an oral examination will be given as “re-take” for the presentation component.


The Blackboard site will be available for students at least one month before the start of the class so that students can enroll in the site and receive updates when new content is posted. A course outline and other information will be posted on Blackboard one week before the start of the course.

Reading list



To be announced by OSC staff.


Dr. Rik de Ruiter (Wijnhaven, 4.120)