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  • Author: Marino Regini, Sabrina Colombo
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The “European social model” includes a welfare regime with generous social expenditure; high employment or income protection; a well-developed system of industrial relations; and involvement of social partners in policymaking. Within the Italian social model, however, one can find three major dividing lines. The first one stems from the coexistence of different models in different areas of the country. Second, an occupation-based principle in pensions and in unemployment benefits coexists with a citizenship-based one in health and education. Finally, core workers enjoy high job and income security, whereas outsiders are highly dependent on the market. These three dividing lines substantially endanger the legitimacy and social acceptance of the Italian social model: each of them profoundly affects the perceptions of workers and citizens, leading to widespread criticism of even those aspects that clearly benefit them and, at the same time, to fierce opposition to the several attempts at reforming it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Sofía Perez, Jonathan Westrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes major changes in the regulation of the financial sector in Europe over the last three decades. Focusing on the pattern of change across five countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), the paper identifies two major periods of regulatory change: first, the shift away from postwar patterns of credit regulation in the 1970s and 1980s, and second, the intensification of state supervisory powers and the introduction of new regulatory structures from the 1990s to the present. In both cases, the authors point to the way in which different models of financial sector regulation affect the political consequences of macro-economic policy for political elites as an explanation for choices that governments have made in the regulatory arena. More specifically, while regulatory change in the first period may be largely explained by the way in which different postwar models of credit regulation impinged upon a government's political ability to impose disinflation, choices in favor of different regulatory structures in the second period (single regulator in Britain and Germany versus multiple regulators in the other countries) can be related to differences in the area of pension reform. By focusing on the political implications that different modes of financial regualtion can have for elected officials in the context of different macroeconomic scenarios, the authors offer an explanation of regualtory change that differs from accounts which emphasize the primacy of financial market forces in driving such change.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • 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: Volker Schneider, Frank M. Häge
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Is the state on the retreat? We examine this question through an analysis of changing patterns of government involvement in infrastructure provision, which is generally considered to be one of the primary functions of the modern state. Based on an analysis of the extent of privatization of infrastructure companies between 1970 and 2000 across twenty-six OECD countries, we find that there is indeed a general trend towards less public infrastructure provision visible in all of the countries and that the main factors associated with the extent of privatizations are EU membership and government ideology. We argue that the trend of privatizing infrastructure companies was triggered by a change of the prominent economic discourse in the 1970s and that a rightist party ideology and EU membership fostered the adoption and implementation of these ideas in domestic settings.
  • Topic: Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: David R. Cameron
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The accession of ten new member states in May 2004 and the prospective accession of several more in the near future will pose severe budgetary, administrative, and operational challenges for the European Union. But however great, the challenges of enlargement pale in comparison with the challenges of accession that will be faced by the new member states, especially those which until a decade ago were governed by Communist parties that presided over centrally-planned and predominantly-collectivized economies. This paper explores five of the most critical challenges that will face the new member states of post-Communist Europe: 1) administering the acquis; 2) deepening and extending the reform and transformation of the economy; 3) reducing the high levels of unemployment and large government, trade, and current account deficits; 4) financing accession in the face of the EU’s budgetary constraints and financial provisions; and 5) coping with all of those challenges in the face of low levels of support for enlargement in many of the member states and high levels of ambivalence and skepticism about membership in most of the new member states. The chapter concludes by noting the low levels of trust in the national government and satisfaction with the way democracy works that exist in most of the new member states and suggests that those low levels of trust and satisfaction will make it difficult for the governments in the new member states to address these challenges while also maintaining sufficient public support to retain office.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna Grzymala-Busse
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Theories of institutional development have tended to view discretion, or the leeway to act within institutional bounds, as an often unintended consequence of agency design and institutional specification. Yet the post-communist states show that discretion is a fundamental goal of institutional creation among competing elites. In turn, while political competition has been identified as a key constraint on discretion in institutional creation, widely-used indicators of political competition are inadequate. As post-communist democracies show, the number or seat share of political parties matters far less than what parties do in parliament. The key factor is a robust opposition: a clear, credible, and contentious threat to governing parties. Such opposition leads to the rise of formal institutions that both minimize the discretion necessary for rent-seeking, and favor equitable distributional outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Endre M. Tvinnereim
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Democratic theory tells us that competition between political parties fosters more responsive government by disciplining elected leaders. Yet party competition may not always attain the levels desirable for holding leaders accountable, notably at the sub-national level. This paper hypothesizes that variations in competition-induced accountability affect regional, or state, government behavior, and that this variation is reflected in citizen satisfaction with regional government performance. The hypothesis is confirmed using survey data from sixty-eight German state election studies. Specifically, a widening of the gap between the two main parties of each state is shown to affect subsequent individual-level satisfaction negatively. This finding presents a conjecture that should be generalizable to other countries with strong sub-national units.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dorothee Bohle, Bela Greskovitz
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the past decade of European economic integration vastly worse standards have emerged in work conditions, industrial relations, and social welfare in Eastern Europe than in the West. Area scholars explain this divide by labor weakness caused by the ideological legacy of communism, and do not problematize the impact of transnational capital. In contrast, this essay argues that the reason why the European social model has not traveled to the East is that its socio-economic foundations, the industrial building blocks of the historical compromise between capital and labor, have not traveled either. In the West, the compromise had been rooted in capital-intensive consumer durables industries, such as car-manufacturing, and their suppliers. These sectors brought together organized and vocal labor with businesses willing to accommodate workers' demands, because for them labor had been less a problem as a cost-factor and more important as factor of demand. However, the main driving force of the eastward expansion of European capital has been the relocation of labor-intensive activities where business relies on sweating masses of workers, whose importance as consumers is marginal, and who are weak in the workplace and the marketplace. With this general conceptualization of how the emerging new European division of labor constrains the social aspects of East European market societies as a background, the essay studies the cases of Hungarian electronics and Slovak car industries in order to better understand how particular features of various leading sectors mediate the general pattern.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Royo
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to outline the main consequences for Portugal and Spain of EU integration. It uses the integration of Portugal and Spain into the European Union as an opportunity to draw some lessons that may be applicable to East European countries as they pursue their own processes of integration into the European Union. It examines challenges and opportunities that new member states from central and Eastern Europe will face when trying to integrate in the EU. Finally, the paper analyzes the impact the 2004 enlargement will have on the Iberian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Stephen Crowley
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Studies on the changing labor relations in post-communist countries have flourished in recent years, such that a review and analysis of what has been reported is overdue. Yet, interestingly, these studies have not reached a consensus on what they seek to explain. Indeed, some of the main questions remain under contention. First, is labor in post-communist societies weak, or (in at least some countries) strong? What should the referent be in determining strength or weakness? To the extent labor is weak, what would explain this weakness? If labor's power varies throughout the region, what would explain this variation? There have been a number of answers posed to these questions to date, but not a thorough testing of rival hypotheses. This paper will demonstrate, using a variety of measures, that labor is indeed a weak social and political act or in post-communist societies, especially when compared to labor in western Europe. This general weakness is rather surprising when one examines it against the now considerable economic and political diversity that exists in the post-communist world. The paper will then examine a number of hypotheses that have been proposed to explain labor's weakness, concluding that the institutional legacies of post-communist trade unions, and the ideological legacy of the discourse of class, best explain this overall weakness. However, the concept of legacy is itself found wanting, since it is unable to account for the extent of this weakness or the trends that have occurred in the region over time.
  • Topic: Communism, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Claes H. de Vreese
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This study tests competing hypotheses about popular support for European integration. It introduces anti-immigration sentiments as a key variable for understanding reluctance towards integration. Drawing on survey data, it is found that anti-immigration sentiments, economic considerations, and the evaluation of domestic governments are the strongest predictors of both support for integration and individuals' propensity to vote “Yes” in a referendum on the enlargement of the EU. When extrapolating the findings to future referendums on issues of European integration, it may be predicted that such referendums will result in a “No” outcome under the conditions of high levels of anti-immigration sentiments, pessimistic economic outlooks, and/or unpopularity of a government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vivien A. Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Democratic legitimacy for the EU is problematic if it is seen as a future nation-state. If instead the EU were seen as a regional state—with shared sovereignty, variable boundaries, composite identity, compound governance, and a fragmented democracy in which the EU level assures governance for and with the people through effective governing and interest consultation, leaving to the national level government by and of the people through political participation and citizen representation—the problems of the democratic deficit diminish for the EU level. But they become even greater for the national level, where the changes to national democratic practices demand better ideas and discourses of legitimization. A further complicating factor results from problems of “institutional fit,” because the EU has had a more disruptive impact on “simple” polities, where governing activity has traditionally been channeled through a single authority, than on more “compound” polities, where it has been more dispersed through multiple authorities.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Abby Innes
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article suggests that the academic emphasis on rational choice and political-sociological approaches to party development has led to a misleading impression of convergence with Western patterns of programmatic competition and growing partisan identification in the Central European party political scene. As an alternative thesis, the author argues that the very character of 'transition' politics in Eastern Europe and the necessarily self-referential nature of the parliamentary game has structured party systems in those countries, and that the differences between the party systems in this region are critically related to experiences under communism (–a political-historical explanation). The paper argues that, in order to cope with a practical lack of public policy options in major areas such as the economy, parties have had little choice but to compete over operating 'styles,' rather than over substantive (ideologically based) programmatic alternatives. The development of parties incumbent in government since 1989 may be compared to the development of catch-all parties in Western Europe in terms of the competitive logic of weakening/avoiding ideological positions in order to embrace a large constituency. However, successful parties in Eastern Europe lack the 'baggage' of an ideological past and the history of mass membership and a class or denominational clientele – their defining characteristic is that they try to appeal to all of the people all of the time.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Ludger Helms
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent comparative works on the constitutional structures of contemporary liberal democracies, the United States and Germany have been grouped together as examples of democratic systems with an exceptionally high degree of “institutional pluralism”. In other typologies both countries have even been classified as “semisovereign democracies”. Whereas such classifications are of some use, especially in the field of public policy research, they fail to pay reasonable attention to the fundamental difference between parliamentary and presidential government that dominated the older literature on comparative political systems. As the comparative assessments offered in this paper suggest, the difference between parliamentary government and presidential government does not only constitute very different conditions of executive leadership in the core executive territory and at the level of executive-legislative relations, but has also a strong impact on the role and performance of the various “veto players” that characterize the political systems of the United States and Germany, and which are at the center of this paper.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Martin Höpner
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the current discussion on links between party politics and production regimes. Why do German Social Democrats opt for more corporate governance liberalization than the CDU although, in terms of the distributional outcomes of such reforms, one would expect the situation to be reversed? I divide my analysis into three stages. First, I use the European Parliament's crucial vote on the European takeover directive in July 2001 as a test case to show that the left-right dimension does indeed matter in corporate governance reform, beside cross-class and cross-party nation-based interests. In a second step, by analyzing the party positions in the main German corporate governance reforms in the 1990s, I show that the SPD and the CDU behave “paradoxically” in the sense that the SPD favored more corporate governance liberalization than the CDU, which protected the institutions of “Rhenish,” “organized” capitalism. This constellation occurred in the discussions on company disclosure, management accountability, the power of banks, network dissolution, and takeover regulation. Third, I offer two explanations for this paradoxical party behavior. The first explanation concerns the historical conversion of ideas. I show that trade unions and Social Democrats favored a high degree of capital organization in the Weimar Republic, but this ideological position was driven in new directions at two watersheds: one in the late 1940s, the other in the late 1950s. My second explanation lies in the importance of conflicts over managerial control, in which both employees and minority shareholders oppose managers, and in which increased shareholder power strengthens the position of works councils.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Pedro Tavares de Almeida, António Costa Pinto
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper provides an empirical analysis of the impact of regime changes in the composition and patterns of recruitment of the Portuguese ministerial elite throughout the last 150 years. The 'out-of-type', violent nature of most regime transformations accounts for the purges in and the extensive replacements of the political personnel, namely of the uppermost officeholders. In the case of Cabinet members, such discontinuities did not imply, however, radical changes in their social profile. Although there were some significant variations, a series of salient characteristics have persisted over time. The typical Portuguese minister is a male in his midforties, of middle-class origin and predominantly urban-born, highly educated and with a state servant background. The two main occupational contingents have been university professors - except for the First Republic (1910-26) - and the military, the latter having only recently been eclipsed with the consolidation of contemporary democracy. As regards career pathways, the most striking feature is the secular trend for the declining role of parliamentary experience, which the democratic regime did not clearly reverse. In this period, a technocratic background rather than political experience has been indeed the privileged credential for a significant proportion of ministers.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, Dimitris Bourikos
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The study of Greek political elites used to be concentrated on parliamentary deputies. Ministerial elites were rarely studied. In this paper, we take a long-term view of the Greek ministerial elites, studying their socio-political profile from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We find that this profile does not change so much with regime change, but instead follows political developments at certain time points within specific regime periods. At these points, new political leaders were ushered into power. Examples were Eleftherios Venizelos in 1911 and Andreas Papandreou in 1981. Changes in personnel were not accompanied by changes in geographical origin or professional outlook, which took much longer to effect. In the nineteenth century mainly landowners and state officials dominated cabinets. After the beginning of the twentieth century, however, liberal professions, particularly lawyers, were overrepresented among ministers. This pattern continued throughout the twentieth century. Both the predominance of lawyers and the changes in the profile of ministers over time are attributed to the type of state built in modern Greece, a clientelist, overcentralized and legalistic state which only recently has started its transformation, requiring a different, more modern type of politician.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Volker Schneider, Frank M. Häge
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Is the state on the retreat? We examine this question through an analysis of changing patterns of government involvement in infrastructure provision, which is generally considered to be one of the primary functions of the modern state. Based on an analysis of the extent of privatization of infrastructure companies between 1970 and 2000 across twenty-six OECD countries, we find that there is indeed a general trend towards less public infrastructure provision visible in all of the countries and that the main factors associated with the extent of privatizations are EU membership and government ideology. We argue that the trend of privatizing infrastructure companies was triggered by a change of the prominent economic discourse in the 1970s and that a rightist party ideology and EU membership fostered the adoption and implementation of these ideas in domestic settings.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Christoper Manual, Sebastián Royo
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to use the fifteenth anniversary of the accession of Portugal and Spain to the European Union as an opportunity to reflect on what has happened to both countries since 1986. It examines the integration process and how it has affected political, economic and social developments in Portugal and in Spain over the last fifteen years. In our view, and on balance, Spain and Portugal have benefited from accession. Since the last century, the obsession of Spanish and Portuguese reformists has been to make up the lost ground with modernized Europe. EU membership has been a critical step in this direction. The record of the past fifteen years is that this dream is becoming an economic reality. Despite impressive achievements, however, namely, since 1986, Portugal's average per capita income has grown from 56 percent of the EU average to about 74 percent, whereas Spain's has grown to 83 percent—both Iberian countries still have a long way to go to reach the EU average wealth. In addition, the question of Iberian and/or European citizenship, and its impact on the Portuguese and Spanish, remains open.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain