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Liberalization and Cartel Politics in Europe: Why Do Centre-Left Parties Adopt Market Liberal Reforms?

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Abstract:

The 2000s have seen many examples of centre-left parties adopting reforms to liberalize markets and restrict governments’ ability to intervene in the economy to protect vulnerable social groups, and indeed the European Union’s ‘Lisbon agenda’ of structural reform was in part promoted by centre-left governments. These policies seem ill-equipped to serve the interests of the traditional constituencies of the centre-left, and have not brought obvious electoral successes. So why have social democratic parties embraced a range of liberalizing reforms in advanced democracies in the past two decades? This paper explains the responses of different social democratic parties to the tensions between economic change and traditional left policies as a process of cartelization. Drawing on Katz and Mair’s ‘cartel party’ thesis, we argue that centre-left parties have become increasingly absorbed by the state in organizational terms, and have taken part, with the centre-right, in a process of ideological homogenization which we conceptualize as a form of oligopoly. The logic behind this process is that organizationally weak parties have incentives to truncate the supply of public goods to their electorates in much the same way that companies can generate rents by signaling the intention to restrict supply of their products. We use this theory of party cartelization to develop a historical account of party politics in a sample of West European democracies using both quantitative (using data from the Comparative Manifestos Project) and qualitative methods (case studies of party change). By bringing the study of party politics more fully into the study of comparative political economy, this paper offers new insights into processes of institutional change in contemporary capitalism.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

parti (229), polit (81), polici (77), cartel (52), social (50), posit (40), left (37), market (34), democrat (34), chang (32), democraci (32), european (29), econom (27), press (27), right (25), new (25), voter (25), way (25), elector (24), data (24), global (24),
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
URL:
http://www.ces.columbia.edu


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400588_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hopkin, Jonathan., Blyth, mark. and pelizzo, riccardo. "Liberalization and Cartel Politics in Europe: Why Do Centre-Left Parties Adopt Market Liberal Reforms?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400588_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hopkin, J. , Blyth, m. and pelizzo, r. "Liberalization and Cartel Politics in Europe: Why Do Centre-Left Parties Adopt Market Liberal Reforms?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400588_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The 2000s have seen many examples of centre-left parties adopting reforms to liberalize markets and restrict governments’ ability to intervene in the economy to protect vulnerable social groups, and indeed the European Union’s ‘Lisbon agenda’ of structural reform was in part promoted by centre-left governments. These policies seem ill-equipped to serve the interests of the traditional constituencies of the centre-left, and have not brought obvious electoral successes. So why have social democratic parties embraced a range of liberalizing reforms in advanced democracies in the past two decades? This paper explains the responses of different social democratic parties to the tensions between economic change and traditional left policies as a process of cartelization. Drawing on Katz and Mair’s ‘cartel party’ thesis, we argue that centre-left parties have become increasingly absorbed by the state in organizational terms, and have taken part, with the centre-right, in a process of ideological homogenization which we conceptualize as a form of oligopoly. The logic behind this process is that organizationally weak parties have incentives to truncate the supply of public goods to their electorates in much the same way that companies can generate rents by signaling the intention to restrict supply of their products. We use this theory of party cartelization to develop a historical account of party politics in a sample of West European democracies using both quantitative (using data from the Comparative Manifestos Project) and qualitative methods (case studies of party change). By bringing the study of party politics more fully into the study of comparative political economy, this paper offers new insights into processes of institutional change in contemporary capitalism.


Similar Titles:
Globalisation, the "Third Way" and European Social Democracy: Economic Discourses and Electoral Strategies of the European Center-Left

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