How Party Linkages Shape Austerity Politics: Clientelism and Fiscal Adjustment in Greece and Portugal During the Eurozone Crisis

Journal of European Public Policy, Forthcoming

Posted: 11 Aug 2014

See all articles by Alexandre Afonso

Alexandre Afonso

Leiden University

Sotirios Zartaloudis

European Institute, LSE

Yannis Papadopoulos

University of Lausanne - Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales

Date Written: August 9, 2014

Abstract

Drawing on an analysis of austerity reforms in Greece and Portugal during the sovereign debt crisis from 2009 onwards, we show how the nature of the linkages between parties and citizens shapes party strategies of fiscal retrenchment. We argue that parties which rely to a greater extent on the selective distribution of state resources to mobilise electoral support (clientelistic linkages) are more reluctant to agree to fiscal retrenchment because their own electoral survival depends on their ability to control state budgets to reward clients. In Greece, where parties relied extensively on these clientelistic linkages, austerity reforms have been characterised by recurring conflicts and disagreements between the main parties, as well as a fundamental transformation of the party system. By contrast, in Portugal, where parties relied less on clientelistic strategies, austerity reforms have been more consensual because fiscal retrenchment challenged to a lesser extent the electoral base of the mainstream parties.

Keywords: clientelism, Eurozone crisis, Greece, political parties, Portugal

JEL Classification: E62, E63, E65, F34

Suggested Citation

Afonso, Alexandre and Zartaloudis, Sotirios and Papadopoulos, Yannis, How Party Linkages Shape Austerity Politics: Clientelism and Fiscal Adjustment in Greece and Portugal During the Eurozone Crisis (August 9, 2014). Journal of European Public Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2478154

Alexandre Afonso (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, Zuid Holland 2300 RA
Netherlands

Sotirios Zartaloudis

European Institute, LSE ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Yannis Papadopoulos

University of Lausanne - Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

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