AIAS Lunch Seminar Jelle Visser - 25 september 2008

Jelle Visser (AIAS) will give a seminar in our AIAS lunch seminar series, with the title:

“The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts – A provisional analysis based on case studies and a time series panel of 21 countries”

One of the striking developments in the political economy of Europe was the emergence of social pacts in the 1990s. Pacts are negotiated deals between governments and the social partners (or the unions only) and usually contain agreements on wage setting procedures and pay restraint, mixed with elements of labour market, welfare and pension reform. Remarkably, these pacts were negotiated in countries (for instance Ireland, Italy, Portugal or Spain) that seemed to lack the institutional and organisational preconditions for such deals. What also needs explanation is why social pacts made their comeback after they were declared dead following the financial and energy crisis of the 1970s. Finally, these centralised deals seem to contradict the tendency of further decentralisation, even individualisation, of labour relations and labour management, and they also seem to fly in the face of continued union weakening.

Two questions are central in this paper. Firstly, what economic, political or institutional factors determine the successful negotiation of social pacts? Secondly, under what conditions do pacts institutionalise and become a mode of governance – governance by partnership – or do pacts always remain temporary phenomenon, a kind of renegotiation of the power relations or ‘terms of trade’ between unions, employers and governments, usually under the stress of a particular economic and political crisis. I shall try to answer these questions by using both a comparative case study approach and multivariate analysis based on a panel of 21 countries over 36 years (1970-2005). The paper is part of book-project with my colleagues Sabina Avdagic (University of Sussex) and Martin Rhodes (University of Denver), which we started some years ago at the European University Institute in Florence in the context of the NewGov (FP6) integrated project. The analytical framework for our endeavour is in ‘The Emergence and Evolutions of Social Pacts: A provisional framework for comparative analysis’, EUROGOV: European Governance Papers, No. N-05-01,

Day: Thursday 25 September 2008
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 3rd floor building M, Plantage Muidergracht 12
Enrol: Please send us an email. A sandwich will then be provided.
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