When are concerted reforms feasible?: Explaining the emergence of social pacts in Western Europe.

Avdagic, Sabina (2010) When are concerted reforms feasible?: Explaining the emergence of social pacts in Western Europe. Comparative Political Studies, 43 (5). pp. 628-657. ISSN 0010-4140

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Abstract

Under what conditions do governments, employers, and unions enter formal policy agreements on incomes, employment, and social security? Such agreements, widely known as social pacts, became particularly prominent during the 1990s when European economies underwent major adjustment. This article seeks to explain national variation in adjustment strategies and specifically why concerted agreements were struck in some countries but not in others. A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis of 14 European countries is employed to assess main arguments about the emergence of pacts. The analysis yields two key findings. First, although prevailing arguments emphasize Economic and Monetary Unionrelated pressures, or alternatively unemployment, these factors were neither necessary nor in themselves sufficient for pacts to materialize. Rather, a high economic problem load appears to be causally relevant only when combined with particular political and institutional conditions, namely, the prevalence of electorally weak governments and/or an intermediate level of union centralization. Second, the analysis refines existing multicausal explanations of pacts by demonstrating three distinct, theoretically and empirically relevant causal pathways to concerted agreements.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the first fs/QCA analysis of cross-country variation with respect to the reliance on corporatist methods of policy making during the 1990s.
Keywords: policy concentration, social pact, economic adjustment, Western Europe, fuzzy-set QCA
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Sabina Avdagic
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:43
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2012 08:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21939
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