Completed Projects


Social entrepreneurship and citizenship

This project, full title: 'Social entrepreneurship and citizenship. Research into the opportunities for creating a new legal form of private companies and cooperations', started in January 2013.


The focus of this project was on the research on the need for a new legal form to support the development of community based initiatives in the Netherlands. This project was led by Tine De Moor (Department of History) and Evelien De Kezel, legal expert from the UCALL research centre, both from Utrecht University. 


> Click for project description in Dutch  


Data Infrastructure for the Study of Guilds and Other Forms of Collective Action

The project named “Data Infrastructures for the Study of Guilds and Other Forms of Collective Action” (total budget: 495,600 €) ran from 1 September 2007 until 31 August  2011. This project was sponsored by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO).


> Click here for more information on this project


City & State

Researchers of Utrecht University (Maarten Prak, Tine De Moor, and Claartje Rasterhoff) are participating in the Interuniversitary Attraction Pole-project 'City and society in the Low Countries, 1200-1800: space, knowledge, social capital'. This project, led and co-ordinated by Prof. dr. Marc Boone of Ghent University, aims at capitalizing on acquired know-how ('Urban Society in the Low Countries') and at the same time at enlarging and rejuvenating the network in order to fulfil expanded scientific goals. Available know-how on urban history in Belgium (and in the Netherlands through collaboration with a Dutch team, consisting of Tine De Moor, Maarten Prak, and Claartje Rasterhoff) is brought together in order to explore topics which reflect current trends in historical research and to evaluate methodological innovation. Three research packages are proposed whose subjects emphasize the socio-cultural and spatial historical approach:  

  1. urban space;
  2. knowledge and culture;
  3. social capital. 


The project is funded by Belgium Science Policy. The project description can be found here.


> Click here for more information on the project "City & State"


Society in between market and state

A major challenge for society is learning how to organize human action in order to stimulate the development of knowledge to solve public problems. The standard repertoire for solving public problems contains mixes of market and state governance, with markets gaining attraction as a solution since the 1980s. However, after the most recent financial-economic crisis, trust in markets as a solution for public problems has decreased significantly. Now that both state and market are regarded as far from perfect solutions for governing society, there is new room for a more realistic perspective that includes a more pluralistic view on governing society, also including collective action that is neither a state nor a market form of governance. The institutionalised form of collective action, whereby stakeholders are immediately involved in the use and management of their collective resources and services, may offer new opportunities to govern public resources from below, not from above.


The current societal problems and the new, although still sketchy forms of collective action that are emerging call for new research on what kind of institutions are needed to solve public problems. Institutional diversity is key in studying the main public problems that our society is facing. Solutions for these public problems can be proposed from the traditional state-market perspective, but in practice collective action might provide better solutions.


Unfortunately there is a lack of comparative institutional studies that provide insights into the potential (monetary and non-monetary) benefits and costs of one type of governance above the other. In this project we aim for a comparative institutional analysis that takes into account the bottom-up initiatives for collective action, and provides a heuristic (cf. Sen 1999; 2009) approach to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of different forms of governance to solve public problems (cf. Dewey 1927). We intend to develop a set of criteria that include not only the economic advantages but include welfare and well-being parameters (see Stiglitz et al. 2009).


This project, being sponsored by Utrecht University on basis of the 'Focus en Massa'-program,  will deliver new insights into how to organize human action creatively from the bottom-up in order to stimulate the development of knowledge to solve public problems, going beyond the standard repertoire of (mixes of) market and state governance. The proposal also is closely related to current research being done by the Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid  (report on “Markt, Staat en Samenleving”). Considering the current European-wide search of governments for alternatives to the market and the state as governance regimes for public and other goods and services, this timeliness of this topic cannot be underestimated. For this project 3 postdocs will be hired for one month as visiting scholars to work together on a new plan about the above issues.


> Click here for more information on the project Society between market and state


Institutionalising Care

Jaco Zuijderduijn and Tine de Moor (both Utrecht University, Research Institute for History and Culture) and Tanja van der Lippe (Utrecht University, Department of Sociology) received a grant from Utrecht University's ‘Origins and Impacts of Institutions’-program for their research proposal Institutionalising care. Demographic shifts, demand for old-age provisions and institutional change in Europe, in order to prepare a large research proposal.


The project aims at combining historical demography, social and economic history, and sociology to improve our understanding of processes of institutional change. It does so by focusing on the question how societies managed to respond to changes in the demand for care for the elderly, and what can account for the different long-term trajectories visible in the areas that will be studied, and the differences in old-age provisions in present-day Europe.


The research is immediately linked to the topics addressed in the ERC-grant “United We Stand” and issues addressed by Utrecht University’s Research Centre Institutions of the Open Society.


Sustainable and Accessible Health Care in Developing Countries

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health & Development (AIGHD), PharmAccess, and the Centre for Global Economic History (CGEH) have joined forces in a new exploratory research project, focusing on how to develop and organize a sustainable and accessible healthcare system in developing countries, especially in Africa. This co-operation between AIGHD, PharmAccess, and the CGEH has been initiated by PharmAccess because of their explicit interest to use history as a source of inspiration for developing new instruments within the field of development aid. To this purposes, PharmAccess does not only focus on medical and health insurance-issues, but also on the institutional context regarding the problems in development aid. The research activities will focus on Western-Europe for the historical perspective; and for the present-day cases, the focus will be on sub-Saharan African countries.  Research consist of research of scientific literature on development, research and analysis of cases developed by PharmAccess in developing countries, and research of scientific literature on historical examples of institutions in Western-Europe.


The research is funded by both PharmAccess and Utrecht University and is immediately linked to the topics addressed in the ERC-grant “United We Stand” and the mission statement of the CGEH


> Click here for more information on the project Sustainable and Accessible Healthcare in Developing Countries