Neo-Liberalism and Social Resilience in the Developed Democracies

50 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2012 Last revised: 14 Nov 2013

See all articles by Lucy Barnes

Lucy Barnes

University College London

Peter Hall

Harvard University

Date Written: 2012


Three decades marked by many market-oriented initiatives often labeled as neo-liberal are widely said to have increased income inequality and influenced people’s thinking about the economy and their role in it. Using data from the World Values Survey, this paper explores how popular attitudes to the economy have changed over this period and asks whether inequalities in subjective well-being have also increased in the developed democracies. We find modest changes in attitudes to the economy and increases in inequalities in well-being across income groups as well as substantial variation across countries that we attempt to explain. To do so, we consider the sources of social resilience, understood as the factors that allow social groups to preserve their well-being in the face of challenges. We find that social networks confer resilience, although they are distributed unevenly across the populace, as do trade unions and the redistributive efforts of governments.

Keywords: social resilience, neo-liberalism, subjective well-being, inequality

Suggested Citation

Barnes, Lucy and Hall, Peter A., Neo-Liberalism and Social Resilience in the Developed Democracies (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Lucy Barnes

University College London ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

Peter A. Hall (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies
27 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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