Week 7: National Policy Responses to the Great Recession in Europe

A central question guiding this class is how to explain the cross-national variation in policy responses to the Eurozone crisis in the core and peripheral economies of Europe. This week we will examine the European wide fiscal response, government responses in Germany and France, and conclude with an examination of Northern Europe. We begin with an analysis of the factors we might think are likely to explain variation in government responses to an economic crisis: International institutions, government partisanship, domestic policy legacies, and economic ideas.

Jonas Pontusson and Nancy Bermeo identify three major themes from their edited comparative study into the policy response to the great recession when compared with the long recession of the 1970’s: international institutions have failed to play an ameliorating role than anticipated, the menu of policy choices has narrowed considerably and changed in content, the core insights of the varieties of capitalism framework in comparative political economy hold less weight than might be expected.

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