Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Research on policy dynamics of organized crime in the European Union

This research project seeks to explain how the institutions of the European Union have dealt with the problem of organized transborder crime in the past 30 years. From an agenda-setting perspective, the project looks at the development of political attention to this problem over time and to the way in which actors in the EU have framed and defined this problem in response to information signals from the broader environment.

The study links to other policy agendas research at the MI and in international collaboration, and takes a specific focus on a policy topic with fluid boundaries in order to see how problems and solutions evolve over a long time period. Formal political agendas are analyzed as well as much less visible but important preparatory policy documents produced within the European administration. The theoretical lens in this study is the punctuated equilibrium model which states that attention within political institutions develops in large shifts that interrupt more stable periods.

The case of organized crime and the lessons to be drawn from analysis of policy development not only have theoretical relevance to the understanding of agenda setting and decision-making processes within EU institutions. It is also socially and economically important to be able to draw lessons on the way problems emerge and how they are addressed.

This PhD project is under supervision of Arco Timmermans, Research Director of the Montesquieu Institute, and Jouke de Vries, Dean The Faculty Governance and Global Affairs of Leiden University. It is sponsored by the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology.

Leticia Elias is a researcher at the Montesquieu Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in México and a Master of Science in European Studies from the University of Twente in the Netherlands and the Westfälische Wilhelms University of Munster in Germany. Her master thesis looked at the development of the EU Anti-Terrorist Policy after the attacks in the United States in 2001, where she evaluated the agenda's evolution and estimated the policy changes regarding counterterrorism.