Europe’s affluent democracies adopted different policy strategies to buffer their labor markets from the effects of the worldwide recession that followed the financial crisis in 2007. This article offers a sociologically anchored historical institutionalist explanation to account for this divergence. Reviewing the politics of employment policymaking before, during, and after the crisis in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark, the article traces partisan actors’ tactics of maneuvering within the constraints of institutionally embedded mass preferences to legitimate their policies and improve their electoral performance. The analysis moves beyond contemporary treatments of path-dependent institutional evolution in two important ways. Rather than focusing on how arrangements at the work-welfare nexus provide actors with particular functional benefits and differential power resources, it examines institutions’ ideational effects on the construction of electorates’ interests. Moreover, it illuminates partisan politicians’ room for strategic agency, breaking with interpretations that view government responses as the product of particular producer group coalitions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Political Science and International Relations
- employment policy
- financial crisis
- historical institutionalism
- institutional change
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TY - JOUR
T1 - Playing Normative Legacies
T2 - Partisanship and Employment Policies in Crisis-Ridden Europe
AU - Schulze-Cleven, Tobias
AU - Weishaupt, Timo J.
N1 - Funding Information: In demonstrating how population’s institutionally embedded normative commitments constrained and enabled partisan governments’ choices in employment policymaking, this article makes the case for historical institutionalist scholarship to turn its attention to both institutions’ ideational effects and to political parties as key independent social actors. Narrowly rationalist producer-coalition applications of the VoC framework might provide analytic guidance on the scope for reform options by specifying potential preconditions, including—for instance—the role of tripartite coordination in facilitating certain kinds of vocational training systems. Moreover, they may be able to explain adaptations in areas that are not highly visible and publicly contested, including many regulatory policies and firm-level adjustments. However, our analysis demonstrates that a purely materialistic producer-group perspective cannot account for variation among governments’ employment policy recalibration before, during, and after the Financial Crisis. In Britain, successes for both Labour and the Tories—be it in the electoral arena or in policymaking—flowed from strategically playing the liberal leitmotif . After almost two decades of Thatcherite hegemony, the Labour Party only returned to power in the late 1990s after it had committed itself to abide by principles of fiscal prudence along with the pursuit of social justice. With the onset of the crisis, however, the Conservatives found a new segue to reintroduce left-right politics, electorally outmaneuver Labour and implement ideology-driven austerity. In contrast to other structuralist analytic perspectives, our sociologically informed approach can illuminate why David Cameron’s government could reorient policy with such intensity and speed. We emphasize that the government’s actions were driven by policymakers’ commitments to economic liberalism and made possible by the electorate’s willingness to embrace individual responsibility. In Germany, policy swings under partisan leadership were far smaller. While policy responses during and after the crisis largely fit with a producer-coalition perspective, attention to normative legacies sheds light on the preconditions for producer groups’ influence. Flowing from the populace’s dissatisfaction with policies’ increasing divergence from traditional status-maintaining commitments after years of reform, competition in the Grand Coalition government over social policy ownership and—most importantly—Chancellor Merkel’s strategic embrace of the Social Market Economy effectively marginalized the CDU’s neoliberal wing and thus set the stage for neo-corporatist crisis management at the national level. The Danish case arguably provides the most striking challenge to contemporary applications of the VoC framework. Neither did a services-based producer coalition secure the maintenance (or re-expansion) of fiscal investments in activation policy, nor did pressure by member-rich unions translate into continued high levels of passive protection. In contrast, our approach can explain the pattern of institutional evolution in the country, stressing how Venstre was able to gradually and incrementally redefine the very meaning of the Nordic model based on a more liberal interpretation of active social policy. During the crisis, Venstre continued its reform course and received widespread popular support. Had it not been for the collapse of the Conservatives, Venstre may have been able to stay in power. Instead, even though they had performed very poorly at the polls, the Social Democrats took the helm. Their hesitancy to push their traditional policies once in government only confirms Venstre’s achievement in delegitimizing generous passive benefits and setting a new standard of what constitutes responsible government. Given that institutional evolution is an inherently dynamic process, a “return” to a Social Democratic model is not ruled out. But the necessary reframing of basic value commitments will take time, which the new government has simply not yet had at the time of writing. Moreover, achieving this goal will also require progressives to deal with the effects of three additional layers of social context, which have also mediated against sharp breaks with Venstre’s decisions. They include the structural power of organized employers in the export sector of a small open economy with a pegged exchange rate; Danish political arrangement’s tendency to produce minority coalition governments, which has empowered the Social Liberals to protect key Venstre-led decisions; and cross-national institution-building on the European level, including the Stability and Growth Pact, which has likely convinced some Social Democrats to pursue their normative commitments in new ways. As continued social fragmentation appears to push the settling of distributional conflicts in contemporary capitalism further from industrial relations into the electoral realm, we suspect that researchers seeking to account for institutional changes will need to pay increasing attention to both normative legacies and partisan strategies. Such refocusing can easily be accommodated within historical institutionalist frameworks that have long acknowledged the co-constitution of interests and ideas in the study of political economy. 128 In line with this tradition and its conception of causality as multiple and probabilistic, we did not conceptualize ideas as a variable, whose relative impact can be tested against the effect of other variables in a regression model. Instead, we sought to point to the need to more fully embrace the multiple mechanisms’ through which institutions shape—and are shaped by—social action. As the case studies have highlighted, parties’ playing of ideational feedback can be a precondition for producer groups getting their way, be it Germany’s grand coalition deciding to invite corporatist actors’ contribution to improving public policy or the Venstre-led government’s provision of discursive legitimacy for manufacturing employers’ demands to lower labor costs as a way to increase productivity, which later functioned as a key factor constraining the subsequent center-left government. As hinted at earlier, the uncertainty of economic crises provides particular openings for—and effectively requires political actors to engage in—active framing of policy programs as in line with institutionally embedded norms. More broadly, we consider more attention to normative legacies crucial for properly tracking the evolving politics of social solidarity and the maintenance of societies’ collective capacities. The latter has always depended on and—as the case studies have shown—continues to centrally revolve around the playing of ideas, often in interaction with institutions’ material effects. 129 Even inclusive institutions (as in Scandinavia) can and need to be played politically. Leaving a fair amount of ambiguity, institutions’ legacies on collective identity remain open to “subversive” ideational entrepreneurship, which seeks to take advantage of how “ideas [act]… like a switchman, … [setting] the tracks” on which material politics evolve. 130 Arguably, progressives cannot count on inclusive institutions automatically delivering the broad social coalitions that underwrite societies’ capacities for collective risk sharing. Rather, they will need to take active steps to reimagine what a good society should look like, connect their images to inherited norms, and actively sell them during political debates. The article benefited immensely from feedback we received at meetings of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) and the Council for European Studies (CES), as well as in form of extended comments from Joseph Blasi, Marius Busemeyer, Christian L. Ibsen, Wade Jacoby, Jacqueline O’Reilly, and Lisa Schur. Conversations with Peter Hall and Vivien Schmidt have also shaped our thinking. We thank our colleagues and the editorial board of Politics & Society for their help in improving the article. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Funding The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Labor and Employment Research Fund of the University of California, and the Max Planck Society for their generous financial support of the underlying research. 1. Heejung Chung and Stefan Thewissen, “Falling Back on Old Habits? A Comparison of the Social and Unemployment Crisis Reactive Policy Strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden,” Social Policy & Administration 45, no. 4 (2011): 354–70. Bermeo and Pontusson emphasize that scholars have found few differences between governments of the right and left; Nancy Bermeo and Jonas Pontusson, “Coping with Crisis: An Introduction,” in Nancy Bermeo and Jonas Pontusson, eds., Coping with Crisis: Government Reactions to the Great Recession (New York: Russell Sage, 2012), 1–31. Bartels finds no evidence for consistent ideological shifts in response to the crisis; Larry M. Bartels, “Ideology and Retrospection in Electoral Responses to the Great Recession,” paper prepared for presentation at conference on “Popular Reactions to the Economic Crisis,” Nuffield College (2011). 2. Kathleen Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Peter A. Hall and Kathleen Thelen, “Institutional Change in Varieties of Capitalism,” Socio-Economic Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 7–34. 3. The term “collective imaginary” is taken from Peter A. Hall and Michèle Lamont, “Introduction,” in Peter A. Hall and Michèle Lamont, eds., Social Resilience in the Neoliberal Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 4. 4. The phrase “universe of political discourse” is taken from Jane Jenson, “Paradigms and Political Discourse: Protective Legislation in France and the United States before 1914,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 23, no. 2 (1989): 235–58. 5. On the selection of “diverse” cases, see John Gerring, Case Study Research: Principles and Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 97–98. 6. The defining volumes of the research agenda are Wolfgang Streeck and Kathleen Thelen, eds., Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, eds., Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 7. Hugh Heclo, “Ideas, Interests and Institutions,” in Lawrence C. Dodd and Calvin Jillson, eds., The Dynamics of American Politics: Approaches and Interpretations (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993), 380. Among many other examples, see also the discussion in John Zysman, Governments, Markets and Growth (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), 285–99. 8. Peter A. Hall, “Aligning Ontology and Methodology in Comparative Politics,” in James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 373–404. 9. This distinction is taken from Ira Katznelson, “Periodization and Preferences,” in Comparative Historical Analysis , 270–303. It illustrates the punctuated model of political-economic development in early historical institutionalism and its focus on institutional change occurring primarily at critical junctures. 10. See also, for instance, Cathie Jo Martin and Duane Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 11. Jane Jenson, “Ideas and Policy: The European Union considers Social Policy Futures,” Paper prepared for conference by the Canada-based European Studies Association, Victoria, BC (2010), 2; Daniel Béland and Robert Henry Cox, eds., Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Vivien Schmidt, “Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse,” Annual Review of Political Science 11 (2008): 303–26. 12. Mahoney and Thelen, “A Theory of Gradual Institutional Change,” in Explaining Institutional Change , 1–37. 13. Peter A. Hall and Rosemary C. R. Taylor, “The Potential of Historical Institutionalism: A Response to Hay and Wincott,” Political Studies 46, no. 5 (1998): 961. Even the foundational VoC text acknowledges that “repeated historical experience builds up a set of common expectations” that resembles “something like a common culture.” See Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, “Introduction,” in Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, eds., Varieties of Capitalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 13. 14. Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization . 15. While Thelen focuses her in-depth analysis of adaptation in liberal market economies on the United States, references to structural similarities between the United States and Britain abound; see, for instance, Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization , 7. Martin and Swank delve more deeply into the British case; see Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests , 189–207. More generally, of course, liberalization across different contexts shares core structural features, see Lucio Baccaro and Chris Howell, “A Common Neoliberal Trajectory: The Transformation of Industrial Relations in Advanced Capitalism,” Politics & Society 39, no. 4 (2011): 521–63. 16. For an elaboration of different mechanisms behind path dependence, see James Mahoney, “Path Dependence in Historical Sociology,” Theory and Society 29 (2000): 515–26. Admittedly, Thelen’s analysis also includes ideational elements, for instance, when it recognizes institutional effects on women’s policy preferences. Yet it remains within the rationalist perspective outlined by Peter Hall in his contribution to the volume on institutional change by Mahoney and Thelen, see Peter A. Hall. “Historical Institutionalism in Rationalist and Sociological Perspective,” in Explaining Institutional Change , 204–24. Since Thelen deduces employers’ interests from their structural position in the economy, her account is decidedly less constructivist than the analysis by Martin and Swank. The latter credit the inclusiveness of employer associations with orienting employers’ preferences toward coordinated collective solutions for the provision of production inputs. See Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests . 17. Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization , 37–43, 196; Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests , 191. 18. See also Bruno Palier and Kathleen Thelen, “Institutionalizing Dualism: Complementarities and Change in France and Germany,” Politics & Society 38, no. 1 (2010): 119–48. 19. Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization , 110, 196–97, 204–207. 20. Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization , 202. For data on differences in sectors’ growth rates, see Martin Schneider and Mihai Paunescu, “Changing Varieties of Capitalism and Revealed Comparative Advantage from 1990 to 2005: A Test of the Hall and Soskice Claims,” Socio-Economic Review 10, no. 4 (2012): 731–53. 21. Silja Häusermann, Modernization in Hard Times: The Politics of Welfare State Reform in Continental Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); James Piazza, “De-linking Labor: Labor Unions and Social Democratic Parties under Globalization,” Party Politics 7, no. 4 (2001): 413–35. 22. Wade Jacoby and Martin Behrens, “‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do’: German Trade Unions Within the Social Democratic Party,” Comparative European Politics , advance online publication, June 30, 2014, doi:10.1057/cep.2014.29; Anke Hassel and Christof Schiller, Der Fall Hartz IV (Frankfurt: Campus, 2010), 265–69. 23. Christine Trampusch, Der erschöpfte Sozialstaat (Frankfurt: Campus, 2009), 173–93. 24. For an influential treatment of clashing sectoral interests, see Peter Swenson, “Labor and the Limits of the Welfare State,” Comparative Politics 23, no. 4 (1991): 379–99. 25. Alexander Reisenbichler and Kimberly J. Morgan, “From “Sick Man” to “Miracle”: Explaining the Robustness of the German Labor Market During and After the Financial Crisis 2008–09,” Politics & Society 40, no. 4 (2012): 549–79; Pepper D. Culpepper, Quiet Politics and Business Power (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Peter A. Gourevitch and James Shinn, Political Power and Corporate Control (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). 26. For an earlier materialist example, see Carles Boix, Political Parties, Growth and Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 27. Here we follow Julia Lynch and Martin Rhodes, “Historical Institutionalism and the Welfare State,” in Orfeo Fioretos, Tulia G. Falleti, and Adam Sheingate, eds., Oxford Handbook of Historical Institutionalism (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming); see also Andrea Louise Campbell, “Policy Makes Mass Politics,” Annual Review of Political Science 15 (2013): 333–51. 28. Streeck and Thelen, “Introduction,” in Beyond Continuity , 9. 29. Other analyses have conceptualized these normative legacies as constituting a “moral economy.” See, for example, Erik Albæk, Leslie C. Eliason, Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard, and Herman M. Schwartz, eds. Crisis, Miracles, and Beyond (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2008). On the inherent contradictions of democratic capitalism, see Wolfgang Streeck, “The Crises of Democratic Capitalism,” New Left Review 71, no. Sept/Oct (2011): 5–29. 30. Christian Albrekt Larsen and Thomas Engel Deigaard, “The Institutional Logic of Images of the Poor and Welfare Recipients. A Comparative Study of British, Swedish and Danish Newspapers,” Journal of European Social Policy 23, no. 3 (2013): 287–99. 31. Christian Albrekt Larsen, “The Institutional Logic of Welfare Attitudes: How Welfare Regimes Influence Public Support,” Comparative Political Studies 41, no. 2 (2008): 145–68. 32. Gøsta Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1990). 33. Clem Books and Jeff Manza, Why Welfare States Persist. The Importance of Public Opinion in Democracies (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007). 34. Jørgen Goul Andersen, “Retrenchment with Consent,” CCWS Working Paper 74 (2011): 7; Allan H. Meltzer and Scott F. Richard, “A Rational Theory of the Size of Government,” Journal of Political Economy 89, no. 5 (1981): 914–27. 35. For a recent elaboration of the classic argument by Frank Knight that ideas help turn uncertainty into risk, see Stephen C. Nelson and Peter Katzenstein, “Uncertainty, Risk and the Financial Crisis of 2008,” International Organization 68, no. 2 (2014): 361–92. 36. Margaret Weir, Politics And Jobs: The Boundaries of Employment Policy in the United States (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992), 163. 37. Peter A. Hall, “Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State: The Case of Economic Policy-Making in Britain,” Comparative Politics 25, no. 3 (1993): 278–79. 38. On ambivalence, see John R. Zaller, The Nature and Origin of Mass Opinion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Martin B. Carstensen, “Ideas Are Not as Stable as Political Scientists Want Them to Be: A Theory of Incremental Ideational Change,” Political Studies 59, no. 3 (2011): 596–615. 39. They are “institutional entrepreneurs,” leading public opinion by recombining different discursive elements; Colin Crouch, Capitalist Diversity and Change (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 40. Robert Henry Cox, “The Social Construction of an Imperative: Why Welfare Reform Happened in Denmark and the Netherlands, but not in Germany,” World Politics 53, no. 3 (2001): 463–98. 41. Lawrence R. Jacobs and Robert Y. Shapiro, Politicians Don’t Pander. Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000). 42. Ideas are just as open to reinterpretation as institutions; on the latter, see Hall and Thelen, “Institutional Change” and Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Slothuus, Rune Stubager, and Lise Togeby, “Deservingness versus Values in Public Opinion on Welfare: The Automaticity of the Deservingness Heuristic,” European Journal of Political Research 50, no. 1 (2011): 24–52. 43. Mark Blyth, Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Elmar E. Schattschneider, The Semisovereign People (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967), 66. 44. Tulia G. Falleti and Julia F. Lynch, “Context and Causal Mechanisms in Political Analysis,” Comparative Political Studies 42, no. 9 (2009): 1152–8. 45. On cross-national ideational shifts, see Jane Jenson, “A New Politics for the Social Investment Perspective: Objectives, Instruments, and Areas of Intervention in Welfare Regimes,” in Giuliano Bonoli and David Natali, eds., The Politics of the New Welfare State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 27–32. 46. Developing a general theory of either the relative strength of influence exerted by institutionally embedded mass preferences (versus other factors) over time or of the conditions for partisan actors’ successful discursive maneuvering outside of the cases discussed lies beyond the scope of this article. 47. Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism ; J. Timo Weishaupt, From the Manpower Revolution to the Activation Paradigm. Explaining Institutional Continuity and Change in an Integrating Europe (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011). 48. On the Beveridge Plan and self-help, see Peter Baldwin, The Politics of Social Solidarity: Class Bases of the European Welfare State, 1875–1975 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 123. 49. Peter Kellner, “A Quiet Revolution,” Prospect Magazine (February 22, 2012), available at: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/a-quiet-revolution-britain-turns-againstwelfare/ . 50. 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According to conservative estimates, the scheme protected some 600,000 jobs in 2009 alone, Joachim Möller, “The German Labor Market Response in the World Recession—De-Mystifying a Miracle,” Zeitschrift für Arbeitsmarktforschung 42 (2010): 325–36. 99. “Abwrackprämie belebt Nachfrage nur geringfügig.” Accessed on November 14, 2013 http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/verbraucher/studie-abwrackpraemie-belebt-nachfrage-nur-geringfuegig/1503280.html . 100. “Brüderle gegen verlängerte Kurzarbeit,” Accessed on November 14, 2013. http://www.fr-online.de/wirtschaft/arbeitsmarkt-bruederle-gegen-verlaengerte-kurzarbeit,1472780,2692310.html . 101. Yasmin El-Sharif, “Gute Zeiten für Trittbrettfahrer,” Tagesspiegel (March 16, 2009) Accessed on November 14, 2013. http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/kurzarbeit-gute-zeiten-fuer-trittbrettfahrer/1474010.html . 102. “Das wäre das Ende von Schröders Agenda-Politik,” Accessed on November 14, 2013. http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/dirk-niebel-das-waere-das-ende-von-schroeders-agenda-politik-1 .462327. 103. Mirko Weber, “Seehofer Bleibt Bei Mehr Netto Für Alle,” Stuttgarter Zeitung (December 11, 2008). 104. Manuela Glaab, “Political Leadership in der Großen Koalition. Führungsressourcen und –Stile von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel,” in Christoph Egle and Reimut Zohlnhöfer, eds., Die Zweite Große Koalition. Eine Bilanz der Regierung Merkel 2005–2009 (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2010), 146–47. 105. For a similar interpretation, see Wolfgang Schroeder, “Große Koalition und Sozialpartnerschaft: Von der Konfrontation über die Normalisierung hin zur wechselseitigen Stützung in der Weltwirtschaftskrise,” in Die Zweite Große Koalition , 200. 106. Hans Rattinger et al., Zwischen Langeweile und Extremen: Die Bundestagswahl 2009 (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2011). 107. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Fra Socialstat til Minimalstat: En liberal Strategi (Copenhagen: Samlerens, 1993). 108. This reorientation parallels developments in Sweden, where Fredrik Reinfeldt, the leader of the conservative party, rebranded his party as the “New Moderates” and became Prime Minister; Ulrik Jørsted Gade, “Centered Right: How Scandinavia’s Neoliberal Parties Came to Love the Welfare State,” The American Prospect (September 2006). 109. See conclusions of the “Globalization Council,” which met between May 2005 and February 2006 to probe how Denmark could maintain its position as one of the wealthiest countries in the world and maintain its high level of social cohesion; Tobias Schulze-Cleven, “Flexible Markets, Protected Workers: Adjustment Pathways in Europe’s New Economy” (University of California, Berkeley, 2009), 211. 110. Gade, “Centered Right.” 111. Ibid. 112. Henning Jørgensen and Michaela Schulze, “Leaving the Nordic Path? The Changing Role of Danish Trade Unions in the Welfare Reform Process,” Social Policy & Administration 45, no. 2 (2011): 206–19. For an in-depth review of the changes in labor market governance, see J. Timo Weishaupt, “Governing Public Employment Services: New Public Management, Social Partnership and Privatization,” in Jason Heyes and Ludek Rychly, eds., Labour Administration in Uncertain Times: Policy, Practice and Institutions (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013), 194–221. 113. The government signed an agreement with the social partners that promised them additional short-term funding if they took over a greater share of the financing of continuing education in the long run. This led the social partners in the private and public sectors to establish new training funds as part of collective bargaining contracts; Schulze-Cleven, “Flexible Markets, Protected Workers,” 214. Public expenditure on labor market training is taken from OECD.stat, last retrieved May 2011. 114. Arthur Daemmrich and Thomas Bredgaard, “The Welfare State as an Investment Strategy: Denmark’s Flexicurity Policies,” in Ashok Bardhan, Dwight M. Jaffee, and Cynthia A. Kroll, eds., Oxford Handbook of Offshoring and Global Employment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 172. 115. Thelen, Varieties of Liberalization ; and Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests . 116. Johannes Lindvall, “Politics and Policies in Two Economic Crises: The Nordic Countries,” in Coping with Crisis , 252. 117. Employees were permitted to work for two weeks and then take a break for one or two week(s); Martin and Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests , 55. 118. See, for example, Ove Kaj Pedersen, Konkurrencestaten (Copenhagen: Reitzels Forlag, 2011). 119. Rune Stubager, “The Parliamentary Election in Denmark, September 2011,” Electoral Studies 31, no. 4 (2012): 861. 120. Christian Elmelund-Præstekær and Patrick Emmenegger, “Strategic Re-framing as a Vote Winner: Why Vote-seeking Governments Pursue Unpopular Reforms,” Scandinavian Political Studies 36, no. 1 (2013): 36–37. 121. Stubager, “The Parliamentary Election in Denmark,” 861. 122. Peter Stanners, “Unemployment Benefits Central to Budget Negotiations.” Accessed on July 17, 2013. http://cphpost.dk/news/politics/unemployment-benefits-central-budget-negotiations . 123. “2012 Budget Approved,” Accessed on July 7, 2013. http://cphpost.dk/news/politics/2012-budget-approved . 124. Christian Wenande, “Enhedslisten threatening to scupper budget,” Accessed on July 17, 2013. http://cphpost.dk/news/national/enhedslisten-threatening-scupper-budget . 125. Interview, June 2013. 126. Peter Stanners, “Government Presents Growth and Jobs Bill,” Accessed on July 17, 2013. http://cphpost.dk/politics/government-presents-growth-and-jobs-bill . 127. Christian Wenande, “Government Reforms Lead to Political Chaos,” Accessed on July 17, 2013. http://cphpost.dk/politics/government-reforms-lead-political-chaos . 128. For an empirical example, see Wolfgang Streeck, “German Capitalism: Does it Exist? Can it Survive?” New Political Economy 2, no. 2 (1997): 243. 129. Compare also Hall and Lamont, ”Introduction,” 18; Sheri Berman, The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Peter Swenson, Fair Shares (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989). 130. Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mill, eds. From Max Weber (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946), 280. Publisher Copyright: © 2015 SAGE Publications
PY - 2015/6/3
Y1 - 2015/6/3
N2 - Europe’s affluent democracies adopted different policy strategies to buffer their labor markets from the effects of the worldwide recession that followed the financial crisis in 2007. This article offers a sociologically anchored historical institutionalist explanation to account for this divergence. Reviewing the politics of employment policymaking before, during, and after the crisis in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark, the article traces partisan actors’ tactics of maneuvering within the constraints of institutionally embedded mass preferences to legitimate their policies and improve their electoral performance. The analysis moves beyond contemporary treatments of path-dependent institutional evolution in two important ways. Rather than focusing on how arrangements at the work-welfare nexus provide actors with particular functional benefits and differential power resources, it examines institutions’ ideational effects on the construction of electorates’ interests. Moreover, it illuminates partisan politicians’ room for strategic agency, breaking with interpretations that view government responses as the product of particular producer group coalitions.
AB - Europe’s affluent democracies adopted different policy strategies to buffer their labor markets from the effects of the worldwide recession that followed the financial crisis in 2007. This article offers a sociologically anchored historical institutionalist explanation to account for this divergence. Reviewing the politics of employment policymaking before, during, and after the crisis in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark, the article traces partisan actors’ tactics of maneuvering within the constraints of institutionally embedded mass preferences to legitimate their policies and improve their electoral performance. The analysis moves beyond contemporary treatments of path-dependent institutional evolution in two important ways. Rather than focusing on how arrangements at the work-welfare nexus provide actors with particular functional benefits and differential power resources, it examines institutions’ ideational effects on the construction of electorates’ interests. Moreover, it illuminates partisan politicians’ room for strategic agency, breaking with interpretations that view government responses as the product of particular producer group coalitions.
KW - employment policy
KW - financial crisis
KW - historical institutionalism
KW - ideas
KW - institutional change
UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84930336739&partnerID=8YFLogxK
UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84930336739&partnerID=8YFLogxK
U2 - 10.1177/0032329215571291
DO - 10.1177/0032329215571291
M3 - Article
AN - SCOPUS:84930336739
VL - 43
SP - 269
EP - 299
JO - Politics and Society
JF - Politics and Society
SN - 0032-3292
IS - 2