The Politics of Technocratic Governance in Europe

This EGPP project investigates the politics of technocratic governance in Europe in the context of both its challenge to the model of representative democracy and its role as a corrective to the populist delegitimation of elites, expertise and pluralist representation. At the same time, the project analyses the multi-level nature of governance in Europe and, in particular, the tension between a supra-national technocratic governance at the level of EU institutions and the populist claim to democratic representation at the level of European nation-states. The approach spans between macro, meso and micro levels. The project investigates the politics of this tension by looking at the actors supporting technocratic governance at the levels of (1) citizens’ attitudes (through surveys), (2) parties’, movements’, interest groups’ positions (through text analysis) and (3) institutions (through interviews and aggregate data on the ‘technocraticness’ of the European governance system). The goal of the project is to test empirically hypotheses on the ‘politics’ of this type of governance, which is usually associated with the EU: who supports (which actors), for what reasons and through which means technocratic governance? Further, the project seeks to understand which factors lead to the success or failure of technocratic actors against non-technocratic resistances. The project aims to attract external grants and produce high-impact publications as well as to organize events between academia, policy practitioners and the public sphere.

The project is led by Daniele Caramani, in collaboration with Eri Bertsou and Jelle Koedam at the University of Zurich. Datasets and Publications refer to past research conducted at the University of Zurich before the launch of the EGPP project at the European University Institute.


  • Codebook of the 2017 survey on technocratic attitudes in nine European countries.
  • Data: Survey data collected from 9,449 respondents across nine European countries.
  • Codebook of the 2020 survey on technocratic attitudes.
  • Data: Survey data on technocratic, populist and left-right attitudes collected from citizens across nine European countries, and Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.


  • Bertsou, Eri and Daniele Caramani (2020). People Haven’t Had Enough of Experts: Measuring Technocratic Attitudes among Citizens in Nine European Democracies. American Journal of Political Science (early view).
  • Bertsou, Eri and Daniele Caramani (eds.)(2020).The Technocratic Challenge to Democracy. London: Routledge.
  • Caramani, Daniele (forthcoming). Technocratic Representation. In Cotta, Maurizio and Federico Russo (eds.), Handbook of Political Representation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Caramani, Daniele (2017). Will vs. Reason: The Populist and Technocratic Forms of Representation and Their Critique to Party Government. American Political Science Review 111(1): 54-67.
  • Eri Bertsou and Giulia Pastorella (2017). Technocratic Attitudes: A Citizens’ Perspective of Expert Decision Making. West European Politics 40(2): 430-58.