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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