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  • Author: SofĂ­a Perez, Jonathan Westrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes major changes in the regulation of the financial sector in Europe over the last three decades. Focusing on the pattern of change across five countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), the paper identifies two major periods of regulatory change: first, the shift away from postwar patterns of credit regulation in the 1970s and 1980s, and second, the intensification of state supervisory powers and the introduction of new regulatory structures from the 1990s to the present. In both cases, the authors point to the way in which different models of financial sector regulation affect the political consequences of macro-economic policy for political elites as an explanation for choices that governments have made in the regulatory arena. More specifically, while regulatory change in the first period may be largely explained by the way in which different postwar models of credit regulation impinged upon a government's political ability to impose disinflation, choices in favor of different regulatory structures in the second period (single regulator in Britain and Germany versus multiple regulators in the other countries) can be related to differences in the area of pension reform. By focusing on the political implications that different modes of financial regualtion can have for elected officials in the context of different macroeconomic scenarios, the authors offer an explanation of regualtory change that differs from accounts which emphasize the primacy of financial market forces in driving such change.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Anne Marie Guillemard
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The paper is an attempt to assess continental welfare state reforms that use the window of the end-of-career inactivity trap. The question addressed is: what is the most effective way to break up the vicious circle of early exit from the labor market, which is a specific pathology of continental welfare states. The cases of the Netherlands and Finland, two countries that have succeeded in reversing the early exit trend in recent years, prove that only a radical change in paradigms that govern social protection may turn the vicious circle of welfare without work for aging workers into a virtuous circle of active aging. In states in which reforms have focused on changing the rules and regulations that govern retirement systems, or on restricting early exit pathways, as is the case in France, they have failed to break up with the end-of-career inactivity trap.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Mark Aspinwall
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This essay compares the preferences of France, Italy, and Britain on the creation of the European Monetary System in 1978-1979, especially the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which stabilised nominal exchange rates. My claim is that the different conclusions reached by the governments (France and Italy in, Britain out) cannot be explained by economic circumstances or by interests, and I elaborate an intervening institutional variable which helps explain preferences. Deducing from spatial theory that where decisionmakers 'sit' on the left-right spectrum matters to their position on the EMS, I argue that domestic constitutional power-sharing mechanisms privilege certain actors over others in a predictable and consistent way. Where centrists were in power, the government's decision was to join. Where left or right extremists were privileged, the government's decision was negative. The article measures the centrism of the governments in place at the time, and also reviews the positions taken by the national political parties in and out of government. It is intended to contribute to the growing comparativist literature on the European Union, and to the burgeoning literature on EU-member-state relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, Europe, France