Faculty Profile

Benny Geys

Professor - Department of Economics


BENNY GEYS (°1977) is Professor in Economics at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo and Research Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). His research focuses on (local) government performance, intergovernmental relations and civic engagement.



Titl, Vitezslav & Geys, Benny (2019)

Political Donations and the Allocation of Public Procurement Contracts

European Economic Review, 111, s. 443- 458.

Murdoch, Zuzana; Kassim, Hussein, Connolly, Sara Jane & Geys, Benny (2018)

Socialization and Attitude Change in Intergovernmental Organizations: Evidence from a Two-wave Survey in the European Commission.

European Journal of International Relations Doi: 10.1177/1354066118809156

A key component of (neo-)functionalist and constructivist approaches to the study of international organizations concerns staff socialization. Existing analyses of how, or indeed whether, staff develop more pro-internationalist attitudes over time draw predominantly on cross-sectional data. Yet, such data cannot address (self-)selection issues or capture the inherently temporal nature of attitude change. This article proposes an innovative approach to the study of international socialization using an explicitly longitudinal design. Analysing two waves of a large-scale survey conducted within the European Commission in 2008 and 2014, it examines the beliefs and values of the same individuals over time and exploits exogenous organizational changes to identify causal effects. Furthermore, the article theorizes and assesses specified scope conditions affecting socialization processes. Showing that international institutions do, in fact, influence value acquisition by individual bureaucrats, our results contest the widely held view that international organizations are not a socializing environment. Our analysis also demonstrates that age at entry and gender significantly affect the intensity of such value change.

Boenisch, Peter; Geys, Benny & Michelsen, Claus (2018)

David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: Group Size, Political Power and Voter Turnout

Local Government Studies Doi: 10.1080/03003930.2018.1510390

This article analyses how the presence of a dominant group of voters within the electorate affects voter turnout. Theoretically, we argue that its absolute size affects turnout via increased free-riding incentives and reduced social pressure to vote within a larger dominant group. Its relative size compared to other groups within the electorate influences turnout through instrumental and expressive responses – in both the dominant and dominated groups – to the degree of electoral competition between groups. Empirical evidence from a large cross section of German municipalities is in line with these theoretical predictions. The observed effects should be taken into account when redesigning electoral jurisdictions through, for instance, municipal mergers or gerrymandering.

De Witte, Kristof; Geys, Benny & Schönhage, Nanna Lauritz (2018)

Strategic public policy around population thresholds

Journal of Urban Economics, 106(July), s. 46- 58. Doi: 10.1016/j.jue.2018.06.001

Political economists have long maintained that politicians respond to both (re-)election and financial incentives. This article contributes to the latter literature by analysing whether, when and how local office-holders respond to the economic incentives embedded in exogenously imposed population thresholds leading to an increased number and remuneration of local politicians. Building on insights from the urban economics and public finance literatures, we argue that local politicians may strategically adjust fiscal and housing policies to stimulate in-migration when approaching a population threshold where their remuneration increases. Using data from all 589 Belgian municipalities over the period 1977–2016, our results confirm that approaching important population thresholds causes lower local tax rates and the granting of additional building permits (particularly for apartments). These policy changes occur early in the election cycle and, at least for housing policy, are restricted to incumbent mayors themselves expecting to benefit from crossing the population threshold.

Slegten, Caroline; Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno (2018)

Sex differences in budgetary preferences among Flemish local politicians

Acta Politica, s. 1- 24. Doi: 10.1057/s41269-018-0090-4

Holm, Joshua & Geys, Benny (2018)

Social Identification and Redistribution in Heterogeneous Federations: Evidence from Germany and Belgium

Comparative Political Studies, 51(9), s. 1177- 1207. Doi: 10.1177/0010414017730081 - Full text in research archive

Recent evidence of increasing income heterogeneity within developed countries has reignited debates concerning the redistribution of income and wealth. In this article, we contribute to this debate by assessing the role of individuals’ jurisdictional identification for their preferences toward intrafederation redistributive financial flows. Incorporating insights from social identity theory in a model of redistributive taxation, we show that federal, rather than local, identification can lead individuals to shift their redistribution preferences independent of their narrowly defined personal economic interests. Moreover, contrary to conventional wisdom, welfare state support will sometimes be decreasing in national identification. We empirically assess these predictions using individual-level data from the 2008 German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) and a 2013-2014 survey among Belgian local politicians. Our findings provide strong support for the model’s core predictions in both settings

Geys, Benny & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2018)

Never Change a Winning Policy? Public Sector Performance and Politicians’ Preferences for Reforms

PAR. Public Administration Review, 78(2), s. 206- 216. Doi: 10.1111/puar.12824

Despite the increasing stress on performance in public sector organizations, there is still little empirical evidence on whether—and if so, how—politicians respond to performance information. This article addresses this research gap by linking registry statistics on school performance in Norway's 428 municipalities with data from an information experiment embedded in a survey of local politicians. Findings show that school performance bears only a weak relationship to politicians' preferences for resource-related reforms, but it strongly affects preferences for governance-related reforms, indicating the importance of accounting for heterogeneity across alternative types of (school) reforms. Moreover, local politicians are, on average, well informed about school performance. This reflects the force of local inhabitants' high information level on politicians' accountability.

Trondal, Jarle; Murdoch, Zuzana & Geys, Benny (2018)

How pre- and post-recruitment factors shape role perceptions of European Commission officials

Governance. An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 31(1), s. 85- 101. Doi: 10.1111/gove.12269 - Full text in research archive

Individuals' role perceptions are central guides to their behavior and choices as members of an organization. Understanding organizational dynamics thus requires knowledge about the determinants of such role perceptions, as well as whether—and when—organizations can influence them. This article brings forward a theoretical framework allowing for both prerecruitment (extraorganizational) and post-recruitment (intraorganizational) determinants of individuals' role perceptions, and examines its empirical implications using a large-N data set of temporary officials in the European Commission. We find that intergovernmental and epistemic role perceptions are strongly linked to pre-recruitment factors (such as educational and professional background), whereas postrecruitment factors (such as length of affiliation and embeddedness within the Commission) are the main driving force behind supranational and departmental role perceptions. This heterogeneity in the importance of pre- and postrecruitment factors for distinct role perceptions has important consequences for conceptualizing organizational change.

Geys, Benny & Qari, Salmai (2017)

Will you still trust me tomorrow? The causal effect of terrorism on social trust

Public Choice, 173(3-4), s. 289- 305. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-017-0477-1

Geys, Benny; Heggedal, Tom-Reiel & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2017)

Are Bureaucrats Paid like CEOs? Performance Compensation and Turnover of Top Civil Servants

Journal of Public Economics, 152, s. 47- 54. Doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.05.006

Geys, Benny (2017)

Do Voluntary Associations Show their Bright or Dark Side under Adverse Societal Shocks? Evidence from 9/11

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46(6), s. 1189- 1208. Doi: 10.1177/0899764017718634 - Full text in research archive

Kuehnhanss, Colin; Murdoch, Zuzana, Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno (2017)

Identity, threat aversion, and civil servants’ policy preferences: Evidence from the European Parliament

Public Administration, 95(4), s. 1009- 1025. Doi: 10.1111/padm.12348

Mahieu, Bram; Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno (2017)

Fiscal fairness as a political argument

Kyklos (Basel), 70(4), s. 622- 640. Doi: 10.1111/kykl.12151

Geys, Benny & Smith, Daniel Markham (2017)

Political Dynasties in Democracies: Causes, Consequences and Remaining Puzzles

Economic Journal, 127(605), s. 446- 454. Doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12442

Geys, Benny (2017)

Political Dynasties, Electoral Institutions and Politicians’ Human Capital

Economic Journal, 127(605), s. F474- F494. Doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12444

Hassan, Mamdouh & Geys, Benny (2017)

What Do We Value Most In Schools? An Empirical Study of Stakeholders’ Preference Rankings of School Attributes

Social Science Quarterly, 98(5), s. 1313- 1327. Doi: 10.1111/ssqu.12337

Murdoch, Zuzana; Trondal, Jarle & Geys, Benny (2016)

Representative bureaucracy and seconded national government officials in the European Commission

Regulation & Governance, 10(4), s. 335- 349. Doi: 10.1111/rego.12089 - Full text in research archive

Freier, Ronny; Geys, Benny & Holm, Joshua (2016)

Religious Heterogeneity and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from German Reunification

Journal of Urban Economics, 94, s. 1- 12. Doi: 10.1016/j.jue.2016.05.001

Blockmans, Tom; Geys, Benny, Heyndels, Bruno & Mahieu, Bram (2016)

Bargaining complexity and the duration of government formation: evidence from Flemish municipalities

Public Choice, 167(1-2), s. 131- 143. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-016-0333-8 - Full text in research archive

Geys, Benny & Sørensen, Rune Jørgen (2016)

Revenue scarcity and government outsourcing: Evidence from Norwegian local governments

Public Administration, 94(3), s. 769- 788. Doi: 10.1111/padm.12262

Cancela, Joao & Geys, Benny (2016)

Explaining Voter Turnout: A Meta-Analysis of National and Subnational Elections

Electoral Studies, 42(June), s. 264- 275. Doi: 10.1016/j.electstud.2016.03.005

Hassan, Mamdouh & Geys, Benny (2016)

Expectations, Realizations, and Approval of Tablet Computers in an Educational Setting

Journal of educational change, 17(2), s. 171- 190. Doi: 10.1007/s10833-015-9270-4 - Full text in research archive

Hassan, Mamdouh & Geys, Benny (2016)

Who Should Pick up the Bill? Distributing the Financial Burden of Technological Innovations in Schools

Computers and education, 94, s. 193- 203. Doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2015.11.018

Geys, Benny & Mause, Karsten (2016)

The Limits of Electoral Control: Evidence from Last-Term Politicians

Legislative Studies Quarterly, 41(4), s. 873- 898. Doi: 10.1111/lsq.12136

Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny (2016)

Family Ties and Socio-Economic Outcomes in High vs Low Income Countries

Journal of Development Studies, 52(6), s. 813- 823. Doi: 10.1080/00220388.2015.1098630 - Full text in research archive

Exbrayat, Nelly & Geys, Benny (2016)

Economic Integration, Corporate Tax Incidence and Fiscal Compensation

The World Economy, 39(11), s. 1792- 1811. Doi: 10.1111/twec.12323 - Full text in research archive

Trondal, Jarle; Murdoch, Zuzana & Geys, Benny (2015)

On Trojan Horses and revolving doors: Assessing the autonomy of national officials in the European Commission

European Journal of Political Research, 54(2), s. 249- 270. Doi: 10.1111/1475-6765.12080 - Full text in research archive

National officials working in international bureaucracies regularly invoke the fear that member states strategically use such officials for influencing decision making and agenda-setting to their advantage. This article theoretically analyses conditions under which the autonomy of national civil servants in international bureaucracies might become compromised. The ensuing predictions are then tested using a unique survey among seconded national experts (SNEs) in the European Commission (N ≈ 400). Finally, evaluating the characteristics linked to reduced autonomy among SNEs in the Commission, the article illustrates that these officials are, in practice, likely to be relatively independent from member state influence.

Asatryan, Zareh; Feld, Lars P. & Geys, Benny (2015)

Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Subnational Government Fiscal Discipline: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries

Public Choice, 163(3-4), s. 307- 320. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-015-0250-2 - Full text in research archive

Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny (2015)

Interpersonal Trust and Welfare State Support

European Journal of Political Economy, 39, s. 1- 12. Doi: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2015.03.005

Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny (2015)

Public support for European fiscal integration in times of crisis

Journal of European Public Policy, 22(5), s. 650- 670. Doi: 10.1080/13501763.2014.988639 - Full text in research archive

Trondal, Jarle; Murdoch, Zuzana & Geys, Benny (2015)

Representative Bureaucracy and the Role of Expertise in Politics

Politics and Governance, 3(1), s. 26- 36. Doi: 10.17645/pag.v3i1.65 - Full text in research archive

Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny (2015)

Organized Crime, Institutions and Political Quality: Empirical Evidence from Italian Municipalities

Economic Journal, 125(586), s. F233- F255. Doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12237 - Full text in research archive

Geys, Benny (2015)

Looks Good, You're Hired? Evidence from Extra-Parliamentary Activities of German Parliamentarians

The German Economic Review, 16(1), s. 1- 12. Doi: 10.1111/geer.12041

Murdoch, Zuzana & Geys, Benny (2014)

Institutional dynamics in international organisations: Lessons from the recruitment procedures of the European External Action Service

Organization Studies, 35(12), s. 1793- 1811. Doi: 10.1177/0170840614544558 - Full text in research archive

De Witte, Kristof; Geys, Benny & Solondz, Catharina (2014)

Public Expenditures, Educational Outcomes and Grade Inflation: Theory and Evidence from a Policy Intervention in the Netherlands

Economics of Education Review, 40, s. 152- 166. Doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.02.003

Ashworth, John; Geys, Benny, Heyndels, Bruno & Wille, Fanny (2014)

Competition in the political arena and local government performance

Applied Economics, 46(19), s. 2264- 2276. Doi: 10.1080/00036846.2014.899679

Geys, Benny (2014)

Better Not Look Too Nice? Employees’ Preferences Towards (Un)Likeable Managers

Leadership Quarterly, 25(5), s. 875- 884. Doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.02.001 - Full text in research archive

Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan (2014)

Party Cues in Elections under Multi-Level Governance: Theory and Evidence from US States

Journal of the European Economic Association, 12(4), s. 1029- 1058. Doi: 10.1111/jeea.12081 - Full text in research archive

Exbrayat, Nelly & Geys, Benny (2014)

Trade integration and corporate income tax differentials: theory and evidence from OECD countries

International Tax and Public Finance, 21(2), s. 298- 323. Doi: 10.1007/s10797-013-9270-3

Geys, Benny & Mause, Karsten (2014)

Are Female Legislators Different? Exploring Sex Differences in German MPs’ Outside Interests

Parliamentary Affairs, 67(4), s. 841- 865. Doi: 10.1093/pa/gss090 - Full text in research archive

Michelsen, Claus; Geys, Benny & Boenisch, Peter (2014)

(De)Centralization and voter turnout: Theory and evidence from German municipalities

Public Choice, 159(3-4), s. 469- 483. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-013-0061-2

Geys, Benny & Osterloh, Steffen (2013)

Borders as boundaries to fiscal policy interactions? An empirical analysis of politicians' opinions on rivals in the competition for firms

Journal of Regional Science, 53(4), s. 583- 606. Doi: 10.1111/jors.12029

Geys, Benny; Heinemann, Friedrich & Kalb, Alexander (2013)

Local Government Efficiency in German Municipalities

Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 71(4), s. 283- 293.

De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny (2013)

Citizen coproduction and efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from local public libraries

European Journal of Operational Research, 224(3), s. 592- 602. Doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2012.09.002

Geys, Benny (2013)

Election Cycles in MPs' Outside Interests? The UK House of Commons, 2005-2010

Political Studies, 61(2), s. 462- 472. Doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00956.x

Geys, Benny & Mause, Karsten (2013)

Moonlighting Politicians: A Survey and Research Agenda

Journal of Legislative Studies, 19(1), s. 76- 97. Doi: 10.1080/13572334.2013.737158

Geys, Benny (2012)

Limitations of the KISS Principle and a Strong Organisational Society: A Rejoinder to Wollebaek and Selle

Journal of Civil Society, 8(2), s. 201- 206. Doi: 10.1080/17448689.2012.686753

Geys, Benny & Mause, Karsten (2012)

Delegation, Accountability and Legislator Moonlighting: Agency Problems in Germany

German Politics, 21(3), s. 255- 273. Doi: 10.1080/09644008.2012.716040

Ben-Bassat, Avi; Dahan, Momi, Geys, Benny & Klor, Esteban F. (2012)

The Impact of the Economic Costs of Conflict on Individuals’ Political Attitudes

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 18(2) Doi: 10.1515/1554-8597.1256

Geys, Benny & Murdoch, Zuzana (2012)

Instrumental Calculation, Cognitive Role-Playing, or Both? Self-Perceptions of Seconded National Experts in the European Commission

Journal of European Public Policy, 19(9), s. 1357- 1376. Doi: 10.1080/13501763.2012.677186

Geys, Benny (2012)

Success and Failure in Electoral Competition: Selective Issue Emphasis under Incomplete Issue Ownership

Electoral Studies, 31(2), s. 406- 412. Doi: 10.1016/j.electstud.2012.01.005

Geys, Benny (2012)

Association Membership and Generalised Trust: Are Connections Between Associations Losing their Value?

Journal of Civil Society, 8(1), s. 1- 15. Doi: 10.1080/17448689.2012.665646

Griesshaber, Nicolas & Geys, Benny (2012)

Civic Engagement and Corruption in 20 European Democracies

European Societies: The Official Journal of the European Sociological Association, 14(1), s. 57- 81. Doi: 10.1080/14616696.2011.638084

Qari, Salmai; Konrad, Kai A. & Geys, Benny (2012)

Patriotism, taxation and international mobility

Public Choice, 151(3-4), s. 695- 717. Doi: 10.1007/s11127-011-9765-3

Kalb, Alexander; Geys, Benny & Heinemann, Friedrich (2012)

Value for money? German local government efficiency in a comparative perspective

Applied Economics, 44(2), s. 201- 218. Doi: 10.1080/00036846.2010.502110

Geys, Benny & Revelli, Federico (2011)

Economic and political foundations of local tax structures: an empirical investigation of the tax mix of Flemish municipalities

Environment and Planning. C, Government and Policy, 29(3), s. 410- 427. Doi: 10.1068/c10116r

De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny (2011)

Evaluating efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from a generalised conditional efficiency model for public libraries

Journal of Urban Economics, 69(3), s. 319- 327. Doi: 10.1016/j.jue.2010.12.002

Geys, Benny & Konrad, Kai A. (2010)

Federalism and optimal allocation across levels of governance

Enderlein, Henrik; Wälti, Sonja & Michael, Zürn (red.). Handbook on Multi-Level Governance

Geys, Benny & Murdoch, Zuzana (2010)

Measuring the 'Bridging' versus 'Bonding' Nature of Social Networks: A Proposal for Integrating Existing Measures

Sociology, 44(3), s. 523- 540. Doi: 10.1177/0038038510362474

Recent research illustrates that two distinct interpretations and operationalizations of ?bridging? and ?bonding? social networks co-exist in the literature (based on links between diverse networks or between socio-economic groups within a given network, respectively), and that these do not coincide in empirical applications. The present contribution first confirms this conclusion using data from the United Kingdom. Then, we suggest a simple way to integrate both existing approaches into a more general measure of bridging and bonding. Applying this more general index to UK and Flemish data, a) provides stronger empirical support for the idea that memberships in bridging groups are more strongly linked to positive civic values than those in bonding ones, and b) shows that the extended index behaves more consistently across institutional settings (i.e. Flanders and the UK) than both underlying measures independently

Geys, Benny & Murdoch, Zuzana (2008)

How to make head or tail of ‘bridging’ and ‘bonding’?: addressing the methodological ambiguity

British Journal of Sociology, 59(3), s. 435- 454.

Geys, Benny & Leiren, Merethe Dotterud (1)

How can the stigma of public transport as the 'poor man's vehicle' be overcome to enhance sustainability and climate change mitigation

Natural resources forum (Print) [Kronikk]

Geys, Benny & Konrad, Kai A. (2018)

Patriotism and taxation

Sardoč, Mitja (red.). Handbook of Patriotism

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2004 Vrije Universiteit Brussel Ph.D Dr. Oecon.
2000 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) Master of Science
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2015 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Professor in Economics
2010 - Present Vrije Universiteit Brussels Research Professor
2010 - 2015 BI Norwegian Business School Associate Professor
2005 - 2010 WZB Berlin Senior research fellow