Based on a joint research project with Christoph Knill and Yves Steinebach from LMU Munich, this presentation discusses to what extent economic crisis had an impact on social policies in Europe during recent decades. An encompassing analysis of how economic crises affect social policy-making measuring regulatory outputs at the national level for a number of European countries is provided. The analysis is based on a new dataset that covers regulatory output over a period of 34 years (1980 to 2013) in the area of pensions, unemployment, and child benefits.
Our results show that economic crises did matter for the development of social policies in Europe. We find that crises impinged on social policy-making capabilities by opening a window of opportunity that facilitated government initiatives for policy dismantling. However, crisis-induced policy dismantling was restricted to incremental adjustments based on existing policy instruments and major transformations did not take place. We do not find significant differences in policy-making patterns across different macroeconomic conditions for the more structural elements of social policy portfolios, such as envisaged policy targets or policy instruments applied. In other words, we found that major social policy changes in Europe during recent decades were not related to periods of sound economic crisis.
Jacint Jordana is professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Director of the Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI). He has been visiting fellow at the Copenhagen Business School, Australian National University, Wissenschafts Zentrum Berlin, University of California (San Diego) and Konstanz University. From 2005 to 2010 he was co-chair (together with David Levi-Faur) of the ECPR standing group on Regulatory Governance.
His main research area is focused to the analysis of public policies, with special emphasis being laid on regulatory policy and regulatory governance. Recent publications include articles, among others, on the diffusion of regulatory institutions, the comparative development of domestic public policies, and policy making in policy networks.
His recent publications include the edited books Accountability and Regulatory Governance (Palgrave, 2015), co-edited with A. Bianculli and X. Fernandez-Marín, as well as articles in journals such as Regulation and Governance, Comparative Political Studies, or European Journal of Political Research. He also has worked on topics related to collective action, policy diffusion and social capital, about which has published extensively.