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  • Author: Jon Erik Dølvik
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the negotiated Nordic labor market regimes and their various paths of adjustment from bust to boom in recent decades. Developed in small, open economies, the Nordic labor regimes are often associated with strong centralized agreements and associations, high union density, and extensive worker representation, which have been embedded in social models based on close interaction between working life policies, the welfare state and macroeconomic policies. In leaner forms these features have undoubtedly contributed to the high Nordic levels of mobility, equality and employment in recent years (“flexicurity”), but an often overlooked part of the story is the increased scope for product market competition and the supply-side reforms undertaken in the Nordic countries since the crises in the 1980-90s. Another distinction of the revitalized Nordic models is the growing importance of management-union negotiations and dialogue at the company level. A key argument in this paper is thus that the capacity for negotiated flexibility and adjustment in Nordic labor markets has been critically reliant on the multilevel, single-channel pattern of articulation between centralized coordination and decentralized negotiations linking restructuring, training, productivity and pay issues.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland
  • Author: Victor Pérez-Diaz
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The author restates a traditional, broad and composite view of civil society, of increasing relevance at a time of ever greater complexity in a non-state centered world; and he explores the relations between markets, associations and politics as parts of that interconnected whole. Markets as conversations shape people's dispositions and help developing a set of civil and civic virtues, bracketed together under the rubric of civility. The paper examines the scope and limits of these civilizing effects on politics and the public sphere.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Author: Robert Falkner
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the transformation of the European Union (EU) from a laggard to a leader in the international politics of biotechnology regulation. The emergence of EU leadership in global environmental politics during the 1990s seems to support recent arguments about the distinctive nature of the EU as a "normative power" in international relations. However, as this paper argues, this perspective lacks historical depth and fails to capture tensions between competing principles and conflict among domestic interest groups in Europe. The paper calls for a more critical reading of the normative power argument and identifies shifts in the domestic political economy of agricultural biotechnology as the key factors behind the EU's support for a precautionary international regime on trade in genetically modified organisms.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Milada Anna Vachudova
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The European Union (EU) may be presiding over the most successful democracy promotion program ever implemented by an international actor. Among postcommunist states with a credible EU membership perspective, we can see a significant – though far from complete – convergence toward liberal democracy. This is all the more interesting since ten years ago many of these states had illiberal or authoritarian regimes. I focus in this article on the sources of political change in previously illiberal regimes before and after "watershed elections," especially in the Western Balkans. I argue that over time the EU's leverage strengthened the hand of liberal forces against illiberal ones by way of four mechanisms: creating a focal point for cooperation, providing incentives for adapting, using conditionality, and serving as a credible commitment for reform. Consequently, most political parties have eventually changed their agenda to make it compatible with the state's bid for EU membership. I investigate the domestic conditions that have caused these mechanisms to function only weakly in Serbia and Bosnia.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Serbia
  • Author: Éloi Laurent
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In this paper, I examine how the specific nature of economic integration in the European Union has affected member states' redistribution policies over the last two decades. More precisely, I attempt to detail the effect of social-tax competition between member states within social models, processes that I label “races to bottoms.” In this framework, I identify the emergence of an informal set of rules effectively constraining national redistribution policies in different ways, given the diversity of tax-social compacts in the EU. Because these rules are implicit and their effect generally underestimated, I gather them under the notion of “shadow” social Europe. Having empirically assessed the impact of this dynamic on the “continental,” the “Nordic,” the “eastern” and the “liberal” social-tax compact, I finally try to present a normative perspective and some policy options on this matter.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefan Collignon
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper models unemployment as a general equilibrium solution in labor and capital markets, while the natural rate hypothesis explains unemployment simply as a partial equilibrium in the labor market. It is shown that monetary policy can have long-run effects by affecting required returns on capital and investment. If monetary policy is primarily concerned with maintaining price stability, the interaction between wage bargaining and the central bank's credibility as an inflation fighter becomes a crucial factor in determining employment. Different labor market institutions condition different monetary policy reactions. With centralized wage bargaining, a central bank mandate focusing primarily on price stability is sufficient. With an atomistic labor market, the central bank must also consider output as a policy objective.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: JoãoOliveira Soares, Carlos M.F. Monteiro, Cristina del Campo
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is well-known that there are significant differences among the European Union regions, which have been heightened due to the most recent enlargement in 2004. This paper aims to analyze this diversity and propose a classification of European Regions (EU) that is adjusted to the different axes of socioeconomic development and, simultaneously, is useful for European regional policy purposes. The data used in this paper were published by the European Union Statistical Office (Eurostat) and correspond to the main statistical indicators of NUTS2 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) regions in the EU. Multivariate statistical techniques allowed the identification of clusters of socioeconomic similarity, which are contrasted with the classes considered in the financial proposal of the European Commission (EC) for the period 2007-2013. It was found that each of the two main groups of the EC classification – convergence regions and competitiveness and employment regions – comprises at least two significantly different groups of regions, which differ not only in their average income but also in other indicators associated with their particular weaknesses. Also, it has been revealed that two other groups–phasing-in regions and phasing-out regions –, beyond their inexpressive denomination, lack homogeneity, being spread throughout different clusters.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Carlo Trigilia
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The aim of this article is to discuss the relationship between economic sociology and economic policies. In the last decades, economic sociology has made significant achievements in terms of theory and research, but that its influence on policies has remained weak. While this was inevitable in earlier decades, when scholars had to concentrate most of their effort on defining the role and contribution of economic sociology, it has since become a constraint for the institutionalization and recognition of the discipline. The return to economic sociology, since the 1980s, has brought about important theoretical achievements, especially in the analysis of economic organization at the micro level in terms of social and cultural embeddedness. The role of social relations in contemporary economy has clearly emerged, but its implications for policies to promote economic development have remained more latent so far. Although a weaker institutionalization and a poorer connection to policy-making certainly affect the political influence of economic sociology in comparison to economics, the paper focuses on the research perspective. A shift of the research focus from the statics to the dynamics of economic organization could be useful. In this framework, particular attention is drawn to the study of local development and innovation through a closer relationship of economic sociology with comparative political economy. A separation between these two approaches does not favor a full exploitation of the potential contribution of economic sociology to policies.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Carl Dahlström
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When harsh cuts were introduced in the Swedish welfare state in an agreement between the centre-right government and the opposition Social Democrats in 1992, there were astonishingly few disagreements between the political parties as to which social groups should carry the burdens of the cuts. The conventional wisdom on welfare state retrenchment would lead us to expect a clash of interests, especially considering the strength of interest groups in Sweden and the different constituencies of the five parties included in the agreement. This paper explains why that did not happen. It argues that the role that key officials played in shaping the 1992 retrenchment agreement in Sweden was decisive in averting potential political conflicts. In a crisis, politicians depend on advice from officials as politicians need complex information, often under pressure of time. This paper argues that key state officials, through their advice, defined both the character of the crisis and the range of possible solutions. As the number of options was restricted, key officials were able to define what cuts were reasonable. Within this framework, politicians looked for practical solutions and, to a large extent, disregarded conflicts of interest. This paper also suggests that the content of such advice depends on what is called the loyalty of key officials, which depends on the terms of their employment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pepper D. Culpepper
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When should we ever expect to see durable moves toward greater wage bargaining coordination? Moving to sustained coordinated wage bargaining presupposes that unions and employers can both be convinced that wage bargaining is in fact a game in which both actors prefer coordination. This can only happen when these social actors come to accept as true an idea of the economy in which their coordination through wage bargaining institutions will give them better outcomes than would bargaining through decentralized institutions. This paper argues that the process of developing common knowledge changes institutional preferences among employers. It was the development of common knowledge that changed employer preferences about the attractiveness of institutions for wage coordination in Ireland in Italy. In both cases, the development of common expectations required the emergence and joint ratification of a common set of references, in what I call common knowledge events. These events led organized employers to change their previous position about acceptable institutions of wage bargaining. This change made possible the institutionalization of coordinated wage bargaining in both countries. As demonstrated through counterfactual analysis of the Australian case, the emergence and ratification of such a common view is the necessary condition for the emergence and survival of coordinated wage bargaining institutions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Australia/Pacific, Ireland