IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Paying for the Welfare State in the European Periphery


  • Sebastian Dellepiane-Avellaneda

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

  • Niamh Hardiman

    (School of Politics and International Relations and Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin)


This exploratory paper outlines an approach to the evolution of the tax state in four countries: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. It is motivated by our interest in a cluster of countries that are all too often excluded from comparative studies in political economy. Both the volume and the composition of tax revenues in these four countries display somewhat different patterns from those of the wealthier European countries. Their systematic exclusion may distort comparative generalizations in important ways. We focus here on three analytical themes that merit further exploration. Each of them helps us challenge the conventional understanding of the dynamics of tax policy. The first is that of timing. These four countries were late welfare developers, which meant that the demands placed on the tax capacity of the state is at variance with trends elsewhere, with implications for the constraints and opportunities available to their governments. The second concerns the specific domestic political economy mechanisms involved in these countries’ tax choices, which can be opened out using perspectives drawn from fiscal sociology. The third theme concerns the international political economy, and suggests that the economic and financial vulnerability of countries on the ‘periphery’ may influence many aspects of their policy choices, including the size of their tax state and the composition of their revenues. This preliminary version of our work focuses on the experiences of Spain and Ireland; further work on Portugal and Greece will follow.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Dellepiane-Avellaneda & Niamh Hardiman, 2015. "Paying for the Welfare State in the European Periphery," Working Papers 201520, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201520

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonathan Di John, 2006. "The Political Economy of Taxation and Tax Reform in Developing Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2006-74, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Castles, Francis G., 2004. "The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199273928.
    3. Frank Barry, 2003. "Economic Integration and Convergence Processes in the EU Cohesion Countries," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(5), pages 897-921, December.
    4. Swank, Duane, 2006. "Tax Policy in an Era of Internationalization: Explaining the Spread of Neoliberalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 847-882, October.
    5. Sebastian Dellepiane & Niamh Hardiman, 2011. "Governing the Irish Economy: A Triple Crisis," Working Papers 201103, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    6. Tarschys, Daniel, 1988. "Tributes, Tariffs, Taxes and Trade: The Changing Sources of Government Revenue," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-20, January.
    7. Beramendi, Pablo & Rueda, David, 2007. "Social Democracy Constrained: Indirect Taxation in Industrialized Democracies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 619-641, October.
    8. Tanzi, Vito & Zee, Howell H., 2000. "Tax Policy for Emerging Markets: Developing Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(2), pages 299-322, June.
    9. Sebastian Dellepiane & Niamh Hardiman, 2012. "Fiscal Politics In Time: Pathways to Fiscal Consolidation, 1980-2012," Working Papers 201228, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    politics of taxation; European periphery; economic sociology; fiscal sociology; Spain; Ireland;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201520. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Geary Tech). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.