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Fiscal Politics In Time: Pathways to Fiscal Consolidation, 1980-2012

  • Sebastian Dellepiane

    (School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Ireland)

  • Niamh Hardiman

    (UCD School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Ireland)

The comparative study of debt and fiscal consolidation has acquired a new focus in the wake of the global financial crisis. This leads us to re-evaluate the literature on fiscal consolidation that flourished during the 1980s and 1990s. The conventional approach segments episodes of fiscal change into discrete observations. We argue that this misses the dynamic features of government strategy, especially in the choices made between expenditure-based and revenue-based fiscal consolidation strategies. We propose a focus on pathways rather than episodes of adjustment, to recapture what Pierson terms ‘politics in time’. A case-study approach facilitates analysis of complex causality that includes the structures of interest intermediation, the role of ideas in shaping the set of feasible policy choices, and the situation of national economies in the international political economy. We support our argument with qualitative data based on two case studies, Ireland and Greece, and with additional paired comparisons of Ireland with Britain, and Greece with Spain.

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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201228.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 21 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201228
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  2. Sebastian Dellepiane Avellaneda & Niamh Hardiman, 2010. "The European Context of Ireland’s Economic Crisis," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 41(4), pages 473–500.
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  11. Porzecanski, Arturo C., 2012. "Behind the Greek default and restructuring of 2012," MPRA Paper 42432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
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  18. Niamh Hardiman, 2006. "Politics and Social Partnership - Flexible Network Governance," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(3), pages 343–374.
  19. Sebastian Dellepiane & Niamh Hardiman, 2011. "Governing the Irish Economy: A Triple Crisis," Working Papers 201103, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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  24. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Fiscal Consolidation in Europe: Composition Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 105-10, May.
  25. Barry, Frank, 2009. "Social Partnership, Competitiveness and Exit from Fiscal Crisis," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 40(1), pages 1-14.
  26. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
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  28. Crouch, Colin, 2000. "The Snakes and Ladders of Twenty-First-Century Trade Unionism," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  29. Sebastian Dellepiane & Niamh Hardiman, 2012. "The New Politics of Austerity: Fiscal Responses to the Economic Crisis in Ireland and Spain," Working Papers 201207, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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