In his thesis, Björn Bremer explains this puzzling response of social democratic parties to the economic crisis by studying the popular and elite politics of austerity.His answer builds on a framework that combines a focus on public opinion with a focus on the prevailing policy discourse among social democratic elites.
Under contemporary conditions, which differ starkly from the conditions during the Golden Age, parties face complex configurations of welfare state preferences within their electoral constituencies.
Thus, two cross-cutting divides run right through the heart of the social democratic coalition: a class divide between the working class and the middle class and a social risk divide between labor market insiders and outsiders.
In times of austerity, these divides become an issue of conflict pitting different constituencies within the social democratic coalition against each other.
Relying on survey experiments, the thesis establishes in a first step the micro-level foundations of the argument and demonstrates that occupational classes and insider/outsiders have distinct social policy preferences and priorities: while the working classes prefer consumption-oriented policies, the middle classes opt for investment-oriented policies; and outsiders prefer active and passive labor market policies much more than insiders.
In order to illustrate the range of topics, the department presents a selection of theses chosen among those that are both of very high quality (as certified by the examiners’ reports) and whose findings may be of interest to a wider public.
The literature on party cartelization, winner-takes-all politics and producer group politics have all argued that electoral politics has become less relevant and that government composition does not affect policy output.Taken together, the thesis shows a remarkable responsiveness of social democratic parties to their voters’ demands and has important implications for the electoral fate of social democracy and our understanding of policymaking in postindustrial societies. at the European University Institute (EUI) in June 2019. Reto’s main research interest include political economy, comparative politics, and political behavior with a focus on policy preferences, survey experiments, electoral behavior, and the politics of welfare state transformation.Short bio Reto Bürgisser is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland. His research has been published in journals such as the Socio-Economic Review.Finally, this also enables the thesis to demonstrate that office-seeking politicians are constrained in their ability to push for paradigm change when they are influenced by electoral calculations and ideational legacies.Taken together, the thesis helps to explain the dominance of austerity in the context of the Great Recession and provides a new account of the economic policies that social democratic parties pursued in response to the recent economic crisis in Europe. at the European University Institute (EUI) in March 2019. he completed a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford and an MA in International Relations and International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.Drawing on a self-collected database on all enacted labor market reforms in Continental and Southern Europe from 1990 until 2016, the thesis proceeds with an assessment of the multidimensional nature of labor market reforms.Reto convincingly demonstrates in careful detail the multidimensional reform trajectories in nine countries and shows that traditional economic, institutional, and simple partisanship explanations are insufficient to account for the variation in reform trajectories.To make this argument, the thesis combines qualitative and quantitative methods and draws on a range of empirical evidence.Amongst others, it uses quantitative text analysis, survey experiments, and insights from more than forty elite interviews with leading social democratic politicians and policy-makers in Germany and the UK.He argues that, during the Great Recession, the social democratic parties found themselves in an electoral and ideational trap.The electoral demands, as perceived by the social democratic policy-makers, served as a strategic constraint for their macroeconomic policies, while the prevailing policy discourse imposed substantive constraints on their imagination.