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What are the political effects of fiscal consolidations? Theoretical considerations suggest that consolidations should reduce the public’s support for their governments, but empirical studies have found surprisingly small effects on government support. However, most of these studies analyze electoral outcomes, which are separated from the consolidation by a multi-link causal chain. We argue that more direct measures of government support, such as executive approval, show much stronger negative effects of consolidation, since they are less affected by the strategic timing of consolidations or the political alternatives on offer. We analyze a time series cross-sectional dataset of executive approval in 14 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries from 1978 to 2014, using the narrative approach to measure fiscal consolidations. We find that spending cuts decrease government approval, especially during economic downturns, but tax increases’ impact on approval remains minimal. Finally, left- and right-wing governments are equally likely to lose approval after implementing austerity.
Do economic crises mobilize or depress civic engagement? This paper examines this question by analysing cross-national trends in voluntary association membership in the context of the global financial crisis. A mobilization hypothesis suggests that an economic crisis would increase membership in voluntary associations, as these associations provide citizens a channel for interest articulation and aggregation facilitating their response to the crisis. A retreat hypothesis, on the other hand, suggests that an economic crisis would depress voluntary association membership, as people have fewer resources to be involved in these associations at a time of crisis. To test these hypotheses, this paper examines data on voluntary association memberships from the World Values Survey in 14 democratic countries, fielded before and after the global financial crisis hit in 2008. The results support the retreat hypothesis. Following the crisis, there was a decline in voluntary association memberships overall and countries harder hit by the crisis were more likely to experience declines. There was no evidence of mobilization among those more vulnerable to the crisis. Rather, the profile of those engaged in voluntary associations was similar before and after the crisis, skewed towards those better off in society, including those with higher education levels, higher incomes, and in paid employment.
The sixth chapter applies the analytical framework for due diligence obligations to the field of human rights protection. The individual components of due diligence obligations are analyzed with regard to the specific risks and problems of human rights law. It addresses how knowledge of human rights risks can be established, how resource constraints alter human rights obligations in times of conflict and economic recession, and what reasonable measures of protection are required. Conclusions from the previous chapter are consulted in order to decide whether due diligence concepts and methods developed in other fields of international law might be fruitfully applied to the area of human rights protection. When analyzing the application of human rights due diligence obligations though, the chapter will also reveal that the implementation of such obligations is often hampered where states lack sufficient capacities to effectively regulate and control harmful non-state conduct.
During the Great Recession, governments across the continent implemented austerity policies. A large literature claims that such policies are surprisingly popular and have few electoral costs. This article revisits this question by studying the popularity of governments during the economic crisis. The authors assemble a pooled time-series data set for monthly support for ruling parties from fifteen European countries and treat austerity packages as intervention variables to the underlying popularity series. Using time-series analysis, this permits the careful tracking of the impact of austerity packages over time. The main empirical contributions are twofold. First, the study shows that, on average, austerity packages hurt incumbent parties in opinion polls. Secondly, it demonstrates that the magnitude of this electoral punishment is contingent on the economic and political context: in instances of rising unemployment, the involvement of external creditors and high protest intensity, the cumulative impact of austerity on government popularity becomes considerable.
This chapter examines land reform and property rights in Peru, which was characterized by high landholding inequality and semi-feudal landlord peasant relations until the 1960s, with roots in Spanish colonization. A transition to democracy brought initial land reform, and then a military coup in 1968 began massive land redistribution. Peasants received land through cooperatives but not property rights such as land titles. Property rights were strengthened slightly under democracy in the 1980s, but major land titling only began when Peru was facing a major economic crisis and the Shining Path insurgency in the early 1990s. President Fujimori closed Congress via an autogolpe and then worked with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to stabilize the economy and begin a nationwide land formalization program. This chapter uses process tracing, original archival documents, and interviews to detail the economic and political conditions that led to the origins and closing of Peru’s property rights gap, focusing on democracy, dictatorship, foreign pressure, and the role of landed elites, peasants, and political elites.
This article is an attempt to take stock and critically reflect on the UK’s decade of austerity and social policy hostility over the past decade. It distinguishes between economic and political austerity and digs deeper into the data on expenditure in order to examine the impact of austerity on British public expenditure and politics. It argues that the decade of austerity was a hostile one for British social policy which not only undermined the financial base of key parts of the welfare state, it reshaped it and redefined its priorities, setting in train a series of subsequent events that would further change, not just British social policies, but British economics, polity and politics. And, as subsequent crises – notably Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic – testify, crisis events tend to be linked, and each one shapes and influences the ability of the state to respond to the next.
With the expansion of credit, low interest rates and overly optimistic expectations about future economic and housing price developments, mortgage lending soared in most OECD countries in the run-up to the 2008 global economic crisis. The crisis revealed the hidden epidemic of over-indebtedness, which continues to overshadow the lives of millions in rich countries. In the wake of the global economic crisis, the household debt crisis led to worsening economic conditions and put pressure on government finances, which caused further income shocks in the form of austerity measures such as social welfare cuts and higher taxes. This article is based on a scoping review aimed at summarising and reflecting on the available literature. It analyses the effects of over-indebtedness on individuals and societies across six OECD countries: Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the US.
Political mobilization in the electoral and protest arenas have long been studied as separate phenomena, following their own, independent dynamic. Parties and protests are rarely examined within the same framework, although the protest engagement of political parties is often assumed to be one of the main driving forces of the wave of protest in southern European countries, those most exposed to the economic crisis. The chapter provides the first large-scale study of protests sponsored by political parties across Europe before and after the Great Recession. It relies on a novel protest event dataset, collected by semi-automated content analysis of news agencies. The data cover protests in thirty countries, from 2000 to 2015. The results show the ‘crowding out’ of political parties as the driving force of the protest wave in southern Europe. We find the highest share of party sponsored protest in eastern Europe, where unlike in north-western and southern Europe, right-wing and non-mainstream parties are also active in protest. In line with the overall findings of the book, our results confirm the distinctive dynamic of protest in the three European macro-regions and put the link between social movements and the new challenger parties in perspective.
This chapter links the political consequences of the Great Recession on protest and electoral politics. The economic voting literature offers important insights on how and under what conditions economic crises play out in the short run. However, it tends to ignore the closely connected dynamics of opposition in the electoral and protest arena. Therefore, this chapter combines the literature on economic voting with social movement research. It argues that economic protests act as a ‘signalling mechanism’ by attributing blame to decision-makers and by highlighting the political dimension of deteriorating economic conditions. Ultimately, massive protest mobilization should thus amplify the impact of economic hardship on electoral punishment. The empirical analysis to study this relationship combines the data on protest with a dataset of electoral outcomes in thirty European countries from 2000 to 2015. The results indicate that the dynamics of economic protests and electoral punishment are closely related and that protests contributed to the destabilisation of European party systems during the Great Recession.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that, in the coming years, more than fifty countries are at risk of default. Yet we understand little about the political determinants of this decision to renege on promises to international creditors. This book develops and tests a unified theory of how domestic politics explains sovereign default across dictatorships and democracies. Professor Ballard-Rosa argues that both democratic and autocratic governments will choose to default when it is necessary for political survival; however, regime type has a significant impact on what specific kinds of threats leaders face. While dictatorships are concerned with avoiding urban riots, democratic governments are concerned with losing elections, in particular the support of rural voting blocs. Using cross-national data and historical case studies, Ballard-Rosa shows that leaders under each regime type are more likely to default when doing so allows them to keep funding costly policies supporting critical bases of support.
In times of crisis, solidarity is increasingly challenged both nationally and internationally. Since the onset of the economic crisis, therefore, unsurprisingly clear signs of such challenge have been present in Europe. Against this background, the chapter analyses how solidarity in actual fact has been addressed in the context of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and especially as a response to the economic crisis. Therefore, an analysis of ten years of EU reactions is undertaken to obtain a deeper understanding of how solidarity may have materialised. As a basis for the analysis, the chapter first examines how solidarity has developed over time in the overarching primary EU law and then in the specific context of the EMU. It is, among other things, concluded, in general terms, that the architecture of the EMU was not truly founded on solidarity in the sense of explicit obligations of the stronger Member States to help those in need, but certain changes in support thereof may after all be considered to have materialised little by little over time.
In this article, we examine how labour market policy interventions, notably short-time work (STW), affect voting behaviour in times of electoral downturn. We use the 2009 German general elections as an example. This is a particularly interesting case because the grand coalition of Christian democrats (CDU/CSU) and social democrats (SPD) was up for re-election against the backdrop of a major recession following the 2007/08 financial crisis and extensively used STW policies to counteract rising unemployment. Interestingly, STW policy and unemployment vary considerably between regions. We exploit this variance to create a unique dataset that combines regional information on STW policy and unemployment in 299 German electoral constituencies with individual data from the post-election survey. Our results show that especially the SPD profited from high STW rates at constituency level on election day, but this policy was insufficient to preclude the major losses social democrats suffered during the election. More generally, our results indicate that classic labour market policy can generate electoral support for social democratic parties, even as a “junior partner” in a grand coalition. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether such support is sufficient for electoral victories.
The worldwide economic crisis of the last decade, and still unresolved, led to a great recession involving all major economies. Since economic factors may influence mental wellbeing, not surprisingly a rise in poor mental health was observed in different countries, while representing a great challenge to psychiatric interventions. This paper aims at reviewing the available English literature focusing on the impact of the current economic crisis on mental health, with a special focus on depression and suicide. Available studies indicate that consequences of economic crisis, such as unemployment, increased workload or work reorganization, and reduced staff and wages, may constitute important stressing factors with a negative impact on mental health. Although data are not easily comparable in different countries, depression seems to be the most common psychiatric disorders especially in middle-aged men. Even suicide rates seem to be increased in men, mainly in countries with no public welfare or poor family relationships. All these findings require a careful attention from both governments that cut resources on public health instead of investing in it, and psychiatric associations that should implement appropriate strategies to face and to manage this sort of depression epidemic driven by economic crisis. Again, as available data suggest that the impact of the crisis might have been attenuated in countries with higher spending in social protection, they clearly urge policy makers to take into account possible health externalities associated to inadequate social protection systems.
This article discusses the ambiguity found in the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement concerning price suppression analysis. Previous case law has established that investigating authorities undertaking to highlight price suppression must conduct a counterfactual analysis. This article examines the difficulties that investigating authorities face in performing such an analysis when the investigating period overlaps with a financial crisis or other abnormal economic circumstances. It suggests that the Appellate Body was correct to require consideration of how profit margins and costs are affected by market circumstances, but ought to pay further attention to the behavior of firms in imperfectly competitive markets.
Throughout its history, Europe has gone through various phases of economic downturn. A major one, known as the Great Recession, started out in 2008, first as a financial crisis and then as one of the deepest – if not the deepest – economic crises European countries have had to face so far. Europeans are still struggling with its negative effects. As citizens try to cope with such negative effects in their everyday lives, economic crises also have political effects. At the most basic level, two possible reactions may be mentioned. On the one hand, economic hardship may lead to a decline in political participation and civic engagement as the experience of economic difficulty can certainly be understood as draining resources from political participation.
This chapter builds on the previous ones by presenting a close analysis of the institutional and infrastructural factors that precipitated the outbreak and that perpetuated its spread. Precipitating describes the factors that immediately triggered the outbreak while perpetuating describes the factors that maintained propitious conditions for the ongoing transmission of cholera and that curtailed an effective public health response. I argue that the origins, scale and impact of the cholera outbreak were overdetermined by a multi-level failure of Zimbabwe’s public health infrastructure. I situate this multi-level failure in the country’s political conflicts and economic crisis, which created a ‘perfect storm’ for the fulmination of cholera. The chapter is organised around three principal features of Zimbabwe’s health infrastructure: the collapse of functioning health care delivery services; the spectacular mismanagement and sabotage of the country’s water reticulation systems; and the livelihood changes ushered in by the Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown and hyperinflation, which rendered vast swathes of the population vulnerable to cholera through food insecurity and malnutrition.
This chapter addresses a puzzle set up in Chapter 5: Why did Africa become so much more intrusive than Southeast Asia in the post–Cold War period, given that neither region experienced widespread democratization? A partial explanation for this variation in outcomes is that Africa’s normative priors were different – by the time these regions arrived at the 1980s, the norm of non-interference had already eroded to a greater extent in Africa than Southeast Asia. In this chapter, I make the case for another more proximate factor – economic performance. Poor economic performance renders states materially and socially vulnerable and creates legitimacy deficits, and these vulnerabilities make states more open to normative and institutional reform. In Africa, reform took the form of more intrusive regional norms and institutions. Southeast Asia’s stellar economic performance prior to the 1997 financial crisis served to reaffirm and reinforce its norm set – including non-interference. The crisis prompted some reform (and some erosion of non-interference) but not to the same degree as in Africa.
Europe’s journey toward the ideal of ever-denser integration, peace and prosperity has been buffeted by repeated trials of temptation, frustration and risk. Like Odysseus, who bound himself to the mast of his ship to avoid the seductive songs of the Sirens, political leaders of Europe bound themselves by treaty and fealty to the principle of fiscal discipline in order to protect themselves from the alluring yet fickle flows of global capital. As they discovered, such constraints are neither always effective nor always desirable. Consequently, also like Odysseus, economic policymakers and national politicians continue to employ a wide range of strategies to steer Europe past the twin challenges posed by a modern-day Scylla (i.e., a multiheaded monster of sluggish economic growth, resurgent nationalism and social unrest that threatens to yank politicians out of office and cast countries out of the European Union [EU]) and Charybdis (i.e., a whirlpool of financial capital energized by expansive monetary policy and conditional bailouts that threatens to pull individual countries and perhaps the EU itself underwater).
‘1989’ marked the start of an era of Westernization and liberalization. The disillusionment with this politics of convergence began in Russia in the mid-1990s, and then reached Eastern Europe a decade later. The economic crisis of 2008 broke faith in the superiority of the Western model, whilst accession to the European Union removed the political conditionality that had previously disciplined local politics. Powerful illiberal movements, in alliance with populist authoritarians in the West, challenged the naturalisation of liberalisation. The migration of their populations westwards and the ‘migrant crisis’ from 2015 sparked fantasies of demographic catastrophe. Against this background, such movements presented the East as the ‘true Europe’, defending its whiteness, Christianity, and heterosexuality against extra-European immigrants and a decadent West. They looked to new alliances with authoritarian and populists in China, Turkey, and the United States too. In so doing such populists reimagined their region’s place beyond Western-style politics, EU conditionality, and a Euro-Atlantic space. There was significant resistance though: EU officials, local centrist parties, and civic mobilizations continued to embrace 1989 as a symbol of unfulfilled hopes of democratic transformation.
The 2008 economic recession was associated with an increase in suicide internationally. Studies have focused on the impact in the general population with little consideration of the effect on people with a mental illness.
To investigate suicide trends related to the recession in mental health patients in England.
Using regression models, we studied suicide trends in mental health patients in England before, during and after the recession and examined the demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients. We used data from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health, a national data-set of all suicide deaths in the UK that includes detailed clinical information on those seen by services in the last 12 months before death.
Between 2000 and 2016, there were 21 224 suicide deaths by patients aged 16 or over. For male patients, following a steady fall of 0.5% per quarter before the recession (quarterly percent change (QPC) 2000–2009 –0.46%, 95% CI –0.66 to –0.27), suicide rates showed an upward trend during the recession (QPC 2009–2011 2.37%, 95% CI –0.22 to 5.04). Recession-related rises in suicide were found in men aged 45–54 years, those who were unemployed or had a diagnosis of substance dependence/misuse. Between 2012 and 2016 there was a decrease in suicide in male patients despite an increasing number of patients treated. No significant recession-related trends were found in women.
Recession-associated increases in suicide were seen in male mental health patients as well as the male general population, with those in mid-life at particular risk. Support and targeted interventions for patients with financial difficulties may help reduce the risk at times of economic hardship. Factors such as drug and alcohol misuse also need to be considered. Recent decreases in suicide may be related to an improved economic context or better mental healthcare.
Declaration of interest
N.K. is supported by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. L.A. chairs the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group at the Department of Health (of which N.K. is also a member) and is a non-executive Director for the Care Quality Commission. N.K. chairs the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) depression in adults guideline and was a topic expert member for the NICE suicide prevention guideline.