The contested welfare state in Europe
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the welfare state and social pacts and determines both the causes for their decline and the political effects of their erosion in a series of three papers. Though each of these papers stands alone, together they speak to the growing influence of the European Union, which I find has been a catalyst for retrenchment and diminished social pacts in the aftermath of the Eurozone Crisis. Furthermore, it has been an underestimated factor in the contemporary spike in support for radical right parties. In an era where unpopular policies are imposed by governments under pressure from supranational entities, this volume answers the question of how the public responds to and perceives these changes. Importantly, this dissertation finds that there are two distinct national models for how the public responds to unpopular policies and ultimately the distinction between these two models is whether or not the public rewards parties for past performance or simply punishes them for unpopular policies. This volume sheds light on a political world where austerity is the consensus policy and national governments are constrained by supranational politics. The first paper presents an experimental design testing how the policy evaluations of people in Sweden and the U.K. are influenced by partisan cues. I develop the concept of issue deficits, building and expanding upon the issue ownership literature and behavioral economics. The results show two distinct models, with Sweden acting according to the issue ownership model and the U.K. acting according to my issue deficit theory. My second paper combines a large-N analysis of a cross-national survey with a qualitative analysis, which demonstrates that Euroskepticism is a major independent driver of support for radical right parties. My third paper shows that the European Union has been a significant factor in the decline of social pacts in Europe using a nested analysis. Pressure from the EU can either produce negotiations or stifle them, depending on if the pressure is visible in the public sphere.
RightsAttribution 4.0 International