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  • Author: Lea Elsässer, Armin Schäfer
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: In this paper, we take up the burgeoning debate about the underrepresentation of the working class in politics. In the literature section we discuss theories of group representation and look at recent empirical studies of responsiveness that have begun to disaggregate public opinion by sociodemographic categories. Empirically, we analyze a dataset of more than 700 survey items collected in Germany between 1980 and 2012. The analysis shows that respondents within one social class are more similar to each other than to members of other classes and that class-based differences outweigh those of education, region, or gender. While opinion differences are not always large, they can reach 50 percentage points. There are frequently gaps of between 20 or 30 percentage points in support for or opposition to policy changes. Since workers’ opinions tend to differ from the opinions of those groups who are well represented in parliament, their numerical underrepresentation might bias decisions against them, as recent studies suggest.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics, Race, Social Stratification, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Barbara Fulda
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: How can we understand subnational differences in fertility rates? The most common explanations see the key to these differences in the socio-structural composition of a region’s population and its structural conditions. However, such explanations fail to account for fertility rate differences in regions with similar populations and structures. This paper analyzes two social milieus in southern Germany and argues that variations in their fertility rates can only be understood through their cultural differences. Family extension patterns as well as opportunity structures (such as the availability of childcare facilities) are substantially influenced by the regionally differing cultural norms formed and held by social milieu members. To better explain differences in fertility rates and to understand the regionally differing effects of family policy measures, demographic research therefore needs to include culture in its understanding of demographic behavior.
  • Topic: Demographics, Sociology, Culture, Children, Research
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Kinderman
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Do employers in coordinated market economies (CME’s) actively defend the non-liberal, market-constraining institutions upon which their strategic coordination and competitive success depends? This paper revisits the debate over firms’ employer preferences with an in-depth examination of employers in Germany – a paradigmatic CME and crucial “test case” for Varieties of Capitalism. It is based on interviews with key officials and an in-depth examination of a large-scale campaign – the New Social Market Initiative or INMS – founded and funded by German metalworking employers to shape public opinion. The paper argues that German employers have a strong preference for liberalization: they have pushed hard for the liberalization of labor markets, the reduction of government expenditures, the expansion of market-oriented freedoms, and cuts to social protection, employment protection and benefit entitlements. I find no empirical support for the claim that the INSM is an attempt to appease discontented firms within employers’ associations. On the contrary: for many employers, the Agenda 2010 reforms did not go far enough. Following the discrediting of the Anglo-American model in the financial crisis, far-reaching concessions by employees, and the unexpected revitalization of the German economy, employers have moderated their demands – but liberalization remains their default preference. This paper also addresses the role of ideas and the conditions under which employer campaigns can influence policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Thomas Fetzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: For a long time scholars of industrial relations tended to associate notions of internationalization with the debate about the cross-border convergence of industrial relations systems. Convergence versus path dependence was thus a key controversy in industrial relations studies for decades. This debate was mirrored in multinational companies when their attempts to “export” industrial relations practices to foreign subsidiaries encountered host country influences that constrained such attempts. In recent years many scholars shown the need for a wider and more complex analysis of internationalization processes that goes beyond the convergence/path dependence dichotomy. Building on this development, the paper presents a historical case study of the impact of cross-border subsidiary integration on industrial relations at Ford Germany and Ford UK between 1967 and 1985. I argue that convergence and path dependence need to be combined with a third “differential internationalization” approach that reflects the country-specific gradual change that emerges from subsidiary integration. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications of the case study for contemporary internationalization debates.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Germany
  • Author: Guido Möllering
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper outlines an integrative framework for the analysis of market constitution and explores its application to solar power technology markets. These markets are currently still in the making and, therefore, particularly suited to studying constitutive processes and the elements that play a role in them. In applying the framework to the constitution of solar power technology markets in Germany from the mid-1990s, the paper focuses on three examples of how constitutive mechanisms that trigger and drive market constitution processes and shape the constitutive elements of markets operate in distinct but interrelated ways: exploitation of technical inventions, business diversification, and political entrepreneurship. The analysis shows the role of market actors in “making” a market at the same time as these actors evidently become “marketized” by adopting market logic. Markets cannot be taken for granted in the field of solar power technologies or, rather, their actual taken-for-grantedness is one measure of the degree to which their constitution has been achieved.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Martin Höpner
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Notably during election campaigns, donations have become an indispensable part of party finance. The paper analyzes the most controversial part of this form of party finance: donations provided by corporate bodies. The data base comprehends all party donations given by the 100 largest German firms between 1984 and 2005. The readiness to donate, amounts of donations and their distribution among the political parties are being analyzed. Donations are likely to be higher when firms belong to the center of the network of interlocking directorates. Two donation strategies can be distinguished: Sponsorship of the political center-right and donations all over the political spectrum (the so-called landscape conservation strategy). During the observation period, the landscape conservation strategy has gained importance among firms but not among individual persons and employers' associations. While family-owned firms give comparatively few donations to the SPD, high degrees of employees' codetermination seem to decrease the likelihood of large donations to CDU/CSU and FDP.
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Geny Piotti
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to explain why internationalization processes to China are growing despite the significant difficulties that foreign direct investments into China encounter. The answer to this question can be found in the processes of decision-making on internationalization at the company level and how these affect management practices in Chinese subsidiaries. The argument I put forward in this paper is that for the small and medium-sized enterprises the study focuses on, the decisions concerning investment in China are mainly the product of structural and legitimation pressure. Structural pressure can encourage cognitive mechanisms and behavioral consequences similar to those occurring when individuals (and organizations) cope with threat. Legitimation pressure can foster wishful thinking, which pushes actors to believe that desired options are good despite evidence to the contrary. These pressures have an impact on how well companies are prepared when they internationalize and can particularly affect some crucial management practices, leading to inefficiencies and problems in subsidiaries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Germany
  • Author: Wolfgang Streeck
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The dissolution of the standard employment relationship since the 1970s has been paralleled by a destabilization of family relations. The paper, which is a slightly revised version of a plenary lecture at the 2008 Meeting of the German Sociological Association, discusses possible connections between the rise of more flexible labor market and family structures, and explores how they might tie in with the declining birth rate. The co-evolution of labor markets and family relations can be explained by both the attractions and the constraints of free markets. The current shift toward a new social policy aimed at increasing fertility is presented as an example of how expanding market relations and the uncertainty to which they give rise in personal life cause demands for state intervention. The logic seems remarkably similar to that of the current banking crisis, where the liberation of financial markets from traditional constraints and the progressive commodification of money have ultimately issued in irresistible pressures on the state to step in and restore the social commons of stable expectations and mutual confidence. In both cases, and perhaps generally, capitalism seems to imply a need for a public power capable of creating substitutes for social relations invaded by market relations and as a consequence losing their capacity to perform some of their previous functions.
  • Topic: Government, Markets, Political Economy, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Achim Goerres
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Is there an antagonism between young and old in the electoral arena that could lead to the obstruction of welfare-state reforms? This article argues that this notion is a myth and lacks empirical evidence for the case of Germany. It is true that (a) there are imminent majorities of voters aged 50 and older; (b) older voters benefit from many welfare state programs and (c) life-cycle interests shape some attitudes towards single public policies. However, these facts alone do not represent an antagonism between young and old in the electoral arena. Firstly, differences in party preferences between age groups are due to generational effects associated with early political socialization. Secondly, life-cycle interests do not shape the German party competition because age is not a political division line (cleavage). Young age/old age is only a transitional boundary that all of us aspire to cross, meaning that material old-age interests are important to everyone. Finally, grey interests parties are notoriously weak and try to become parties for the interests of all age groups.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jens Beckert
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Germany introduced a federal inheritance tax in 1906. Historically, the share of its revenues compared to total tax revenues has always been low. Currently, less than one percent of total revenues are generated from inheritance tax. In countries like France, the United States and England, inheritance tax revenues are higher. With its ruling in 2007 the German supreme court has forced parliament to revise regulations on inheritance taxation. Various proposals are currently the subject of intense political debate. I take this discussion as the starting point for an investigation of fundamental arguments for and against estate taxation. Proposing that inheritances be taxed as a further type of income within the context of the income tax, I examine the impact of inheritance taxes on economic performance, family solidarity and the political community as well as the relationship between inheritance taxation and important value principles of individual freedom, social justice and equality of opportunity.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Fritz W. Scharpf
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The unique institutions that make up Germany's "unitary federal state," long considered part of the country's post-war success story, are now generally perceived as a "joint-decision trap" impeding effective policy responses to new economic and demographic challenges at both levels of government. Nevertheless, a high-powered bicameral Commission set up in the fall of 2003 failed to reach agreement on constitutional reforms. The paper analyzes the misguided procedural and substantive choices that led to this failure, and it discusses the possibility of asymmetric constitutional solutions that might enhance the capacity for autonomous action at both levels.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Wolfgang Streeck, Christine Trampusch
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The key to economic reform in Germany is a significant reduction in the high costs of labour.The main factor driving up German labour costs is the funding of the extensive German welfare state through social insurance contributions that in effect operate like payroll taxes on employment. The paper discusses the political causes of the rise in non-wage labour costs since the 1970s. It then proceeds to show how a variety of opportunities for political blockade in the German political economy dim the prospect for effective reform in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Martin Heipertz, Amy Verdun
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the underlying reasons for the creation of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and its subsequent development in recent years. The paper examines the economic and political factors behind it, including the role of economic ideas, experts, politicians, institutional arrangements in the Maastricht Treaty, domestic politics, and the exceptional position of Germany in the realm of monetary integration in the EU. It concludes that a set of commonly held beliefs together with a corresponding power-political constellation explain the creation of the SGP.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Martin Höpner, Lothar Krempel
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: For over 100 years, the German company network was a major feature of organized corporate governance in Germany. This paper uses network visualization techniques and qualitative-historical analysis to discuss the structure, origins and development of this network and to analyze the reasons for its recent erosion. Network visualization makes it possible to identify crucial entanglement patterns that can be traced back historically. In three phases of network formation – the 1880s, 1920s and the 1950s –, capital entanglement resulted from the interplay of company behavior and government policy. In its heyday, the company network was de facto encompassing and provided its core participants, especially the banks, with a national, macroeconomic perspective. In the 1970s, a process of increased competition among financial companies set in. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining returns from blockholding and increased opportunity costs made network dissolution a thinkable option for companies. Because of the strategic reorientation of the largest banks toward investment banking, ties between banks and industry underwent functional changes. Since the year 2000, the German government's tax policy has sped up network erosion. Vanishing capital ties imply a declining degree of strategic coordination among large German companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Anke Hassel, Jürgen Beyer
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The paper examines whether and how the increasing internationalisation of firms impacts on the operation of a co-ordinated market economy. Following the tenets of agency theory it assumes that an emerging market for corporate control changes the monitoring mechanisms that oversee management. Since Anglo- American forms of monitoring are usually associated with a higher return for investors compared with Continental European firms, a change in the distribution of the net value added of firms is expected. Using financial data on 59 large German companies, the paper shows that the emerging convergence of German corporate governance practices to Anglo-American standards has had a weak, but significant, impact on the distribution of net value added. This is in contrast to the impact of the internationalisation of firms on product markets, which does not have an effect. Since the market for corporate control is, however, still underdeveloped in Germany, the main effects remain to be seen.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Richard Deeg
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: How can we determine when an existing institutional path or trajectory is ending and being replaced with a new one? How does such a process take place? How can we distinguish between institutional innovation within an existing trajectory and a switchover to a new trajectory or path? This paper explores these questions by examining the pattern of institutional change in the German financial system. The paper advances four theoretical claims: First, that endogenous developments can disrupt an institutional path and lead to a new one. Second, that an event sequence involving a move to a new institutional path may not follow from a contingent event yet may nonetheless be marked by increasing returns processes. Third, that increasing returns in politics are not automatic and must be cultivated by actors in order to be realized. Finally, that the concept of path is still in need of a measurable conceptualization before any further advances in path dependent arguments can be made.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Martin Hopner
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Within the context of debates over national “varieties” of capitalism, this paper discusses the shareholder value orientation of the 40 largest listed German companies. Three dimensions of shareholder value are distinguished: the communicative dimension, the operative dimension and the dimension of managerial compensation. A shareholder value index compiling data on accounting, investor relations, variable top-management compensation and the implementation of profitability goals makes it possible to compare the shareholder orientations of the companies. The shareholder value phenomenon is explained first by the exposure to markets – the international product market, capital market pressures and the market for corporate control – and, secondly, by internal developments – changing management careers, increasing management compensation and reduced monitoring by banks and corporate networks – which cause external impulses to increase shareholder value to fall on fertile ground. Conflicts over shareholder orientation result in changing coalitions between shareholders, management, and employees. Shareholder value does not make companies opt out of central collective agreements or endanger the existence of employees' codetermination, but it does lead to more market-driven industrial relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Gregory Jackson, Martin Hopner
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Corporate governance in Germany is often described as a bank-oriented, blockholder or stakeholder model where markets for corporate control have not played a significant role. This case study of the hostile takeover of Mannesmann AG by Vodafone in 2000 demonstrates how systemic changes during the 1990s have eroded past institutional barriers to takeovers. These changes include the strategic reorientation of German banks from the “house bank” to investment banking, the growing consensus and productivity orientation of employee codetermination and corporate law reform. A significant segment of German corporations are now subjected to a market for corporate control. The implications for the German model are examined in light of both claims by agency theory for the efficiency of takeover markets, as well as the institutional complementarities within Germany's specific “variety” of capitalism. While the efficiency effects are questionable, the growing pressures for German corporations to achieve the higher stock market valuations of their Anglo-American competitors threaten the distributional compromises underlying the German model.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: America, Germany
  • Author: Philip Manow
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Is there a relation between welfare state regimes and national wage setting systems? Peter Swenson in his research on the historical dynamics of the US-American and Swedish welfare state has recently claimed that such a relation does indeed exist. The essay aims to check if this also holds true for the German and Japanese case. In the post-war period both countries have established systems of wage-bargaining that are less centralized than the Swedish system, but in which wages are highly coordinated both within and across sectors, and, subsequently, in which wage compression is relatively high as well. Thus, both countries are confronted with the same problems of wage- and welfare-drift and of firms' exit from the 'solidaristic' or coordinated wage setting that are so typical for Sweden. At the same time the German and Japanese welfare state differ from each other in almost all dimensions. Thus, both cases seem to be ideally suited to provide for a plausibility-check of the Swenson hypothesis. The essay reaches the conclusion that there is indeed ample evidence that both the German and the Japanese welfare state contributed critically to the stability of wage coordination in the era of high growth after World War II. They thus have to be understood as an integral part of the German and Japanese post-war growth model.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, America, Germany