AIAS Lunch Seminar 7 April - Aidan Regan - University College Dublin

The Political Economy of Social-Wage Pacts in the EMU; Irish Neoliberal Corporatism in Crisis (2008-2010). Actors, Institutions and Power

Aidan Regan, PhD Candidate in Public Policy, University College Dublin and guest at AIAS


The economic crisis is a collective action problem. In the absence of currency devaluations and growing budget deficits eurozone governments are faced with the painful social process of competitive wage devaluations. This paper examines the strategic choices facing government and organised labour in how they respond to this problem. It will argue that the EMU contains an implicit neoclassical assumption that labour markets will automatically adjust to downward wage flexibility. This ignores the politics of collective bargaining and the diversity of national structures of wage coordination. Labour relations systems are the most regulated of all markets. Based on this institutional embeddedness the paper will outline a typology of political choices facing national governments: neo-liberal market adjustment, national or sectoral concertation and euro-coordination. The paper will then argue that the institutional pre-conditions of collective bargaining will mediate what strategy governments and organised labour adopt. It will subsequently examine the case of a peripheral economy in the EMU; Ireland, who tried and failed to negotiate a social pact in 2009. Liberal corporatism was a central institution of Irish politics and labour relations for twenty years but could not internalise the adjustment constraints of the current crisis. Why?

The presenter

Aidan Regan
College of Human Sciences
University College Dublin
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 716 8619

Aidan is staying at AIAS as a guest from 1 March till 27 May 2011.

Day: Thursday 7 April
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 3rd floor M building (Business School), Plantage Muidergracht 12, Amsterdam
Registration: Please send an email ( before Tuesday 5 April, 12.00 hrs to register.
A sandwich will then be provided.

Click here for an overview on all lunch seminars from January – July 2011

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