Who Cuts Back and When? The Politics of Delays in Social Expenditure Cutbacks, 1980-2005

West European Politics, 2010

47 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2010

See all articles by Markus S. Tepe

Markus S. Tepe

University of Bremen - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM)

Pieter Vanhuysse

University of Southern Denmark

Date Written: January 2, 2010

Abstract

This article investigates the politics of delays in social spending cutbacks in OECD democracies. In the context of fiscal austerity, policymakers are assumed to have a strong incentive to manipulate the timing of cutbacks strategically. Applying event history analysis to small and large cutbacks in 21 mature welfare states, we test whether partisanship, electioneering, and institutional constraints contribute to explain the timing of cutbacks. Macro-economic determinants such as worker productivity, economic growth and unemployment are found to be more important than these political variables. However, leftwing governments and welfare states with more institutional rigidity or a larger degree of contribution financing do tend to delay welfare cutbacks, while cabinets that have recently changed their party composition implement cutbacks earlier.

Keywords: event history analysis, blame avoidance, electioneering, partisanship, retrenchment, veto players

Suggested Citation

Tepe, Markus S. and Vanhuysse, Pieter, Who Cuts Back and When? The Politics of Delays in Social Expenditure Cutbacks, 1980-2005 (January 2, 2010). West European Politics, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1530509

Markus S. Tepe (Contact Author)

University of Bremen - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) ( email )

Mary-Somerville-Str. 5
Bremen, 28359
Germany

Pieter Vanhuysse

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK 5230 Odense
Denmark

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