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  • Author: Annette Elisabeth Töller
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In looking at the Europeanization of the German Bundestag, the paper brings together two different debates: the well-established debate on the democratic legitimacy of the European Union sees national Parliaments as guarantor of one branch of a “dual” legitimacy. The more recent debate on “Europeanization” addresses the impacts that European integration has had on its Member States. Analyzing the Europeanization of the German Bundestag, the paper identifies and analyzes three dimensions: legislative Europeanization – the extent to which legislative decision making by the German Bundestag has been influenced by European stipulations over the last twenty years; institutional Europeanization – how the Bundestag as an institution reacted to this loss of function by establishing institutional and procedural provisions for influencing the government's Euro-politics; and strategic Europeanization – the ways in which individual MPs started more recently to develop euro-political strategies that go beyond controlling the national government. The paper shows that the Bundestag only hesitantly reacted to the increasing loss of function s through legislative Europeanization by establishing effective institutional and procedural provisions for controlling the government's Euro-political activities. What is more, the establishment of institutions does not guarantee their effective use. All in all, Euro- politics continues to remain the activity of few MPs. These few, however, have more recently started to europeanize their strategies. The empirical findings support the claim that the traditional concept of chains of legitimacy is inadequate, both in conceptual and in empirical terms. With regard to the democratic legitimacy of EU governance, this indicates that, apart from major reform projects, especially with regard to everyday legislation, not too great a burden should be placed on national Parliaments.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Steffen Hillmert
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a comparison of skill formation in Germany and Britain over the last decades. Taking historical trends into account, the two cases can be regarded as representing different types of skill production regimes. Institutional features include a relatively low degree of standardization of training and a larger amount of on-the-job training in Britain. In Germany, post-compulsory training has been conducted predominantly within the dual system of vocational training, underlining the vocational specificity of a large part of the labor market. As a consequence, international differences in individual skill investments, transitions from school to work and other life-course patterns can be observed. At least in Britain, however, the situation seems to have changed considerably during the 1990s. The paper argues that the divergence in more recent developments can still be understood as an expression of historical path dependency given the traditional connections between the post-compulsory training system and the broader societal context in which it is embedded. These concern, in particular, links with the system of general and academic education as the basis for – and also a possible competitor with – vocational training; links with the labor market as they are indicated by specific skill requirements and returns to qualifications; and, links with the order of social stratification in the form of the selective acquisition and the social consequences of these qualifications. The links manifest themselves as typical individual-level consequences and decisions. Founded on the basis of these distinctions, the aim of this paper is to investigate the preceding conditions for recent developments in the qualification systems of Britain and Germany, which have adapted to specific challenges during the last decades.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Wolfgang Schroeder, Stephen J. Silvia
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper challenges the conventional explanation for declining density of German employers associations. The dominant account asserts that German trade unions have taken advantage of increased globalization since the 1980s – which has made internationally active enterprises more vulnerable to production disruptions – to extract additional monopoly rents from multinational employers via aggressive collective bargaining. Small firms have responded to the increased union pressures by avoiding member ship employers associations, which has produced the density declines. Data, however, disconfirm the conventional explanation; compensation increases have actually become increasingly smaller over the decades. This paper presents an alternative explanation that is consistent with the data. We argue that it is the large product manufacturers rather than the trade unions that have greatly increased price pressures on parts suppliers, which has led to a disproportionate number of suppliers to quit employers associations. The paper also discusses these findings in light of the “varieties of capitalism” literature. It points out that this literature has depicted national models as too homogeneous. The decision of several German employers associations to offer different classes of membership represents an accentuation of variety within national varieties of capitalism.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Reimut Zohlnhöfer
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: According to parts of the literature, blame avoidance opportunities, i.e. the necessity and applicability of blame avoidance strategies, may differ among countries according to the respective institutional set-ups and between governing parties according to their programmatic orientation. In countries with many veto actors, a strategy of "Institutional Cooperation" among these actors is expected to diffuse blame sufficiently to render other blame avoidance strategies obsolete. In contrast, governments in Westminster democracies should resort to the more unilateral strategies of presentation, policy design and timing. At the same time, parties of the left are expected to have an easier time implementing spending cuts while right parties are less vulnerable when proposing tax increases. Evidence from the politics of budget consolidation in Britain and Germany does not corroborate these hypotheses. Instead, it seems that party competition conditions the effects institutions and the partisan complexion of governments have on the politics of blame avoidance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hubert P. Janicki, Thierry Warin, Phanindra Wunnava
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper presents an empirical assessment of the endogenous optimum currency area theory. This study relies on the original intuition developed by Mundell in 1973. The gravity model is used to empirically assess the effectiveness of the convergence criteria by examining location specific advantages that guide multinational investment within the European Union. A fixed effects model based on a panel data of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows within the EU-15 shows that horizontal investment promotes the diffusion of the production process across the national border. Specifically, the examined Maastricht criteria suggest convergence in interest rate, government fiscal policy, and debt play a significant role in attracting multinational investment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thierry Warin
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The paper addresses the question of the fiscal perspectives within the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). By using a panel data analysis associated with an interpretation in terms of differences instead of levels, the results show a steady convergence of public deficits across the EMU, and that the EMU needs either to comply with the Lisbon agenda, or some kind of a growth strategy, or reduce the interest of the debt in order to regain some fiscal flexibility while abiding by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Coates
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: New Labour's performance in office–as an orchestrator of economic and social change–is situated against, and evaluated by reference to, two sets of legacies: legacies inherited from the years of Conservative political dominance after 1979; and legacies brought to power by New Labour. The paper argues that the first se t of legacies was deep and enduring, and threw a long shadow forward. It argues that the second set of legacies were highly coherent and intellectually informed, but cumulatively involved a diminution in the capacity of the state. The result has been a two-term government that is sufficiently superficially successful to win a third term; but which has yet seriously to transform the legacies it inherited: to our misfortune, and ultimately–in electoral terms–also probably to its own. This paper is based on my study of New Labour's domestic policy–Prolonged Labour: The Slow Birth of New Labour Britain; I have also co-authored a study of New Labour's policy towards Iraq–Blair's War–which was published by Polity Press in 2004.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastián Royo
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The proponents of globalization contend that European countries are now converging on an Anglo-American model of capitalism. Contrary to this prediction, this paper will show that in Spain globalization and EMU have promoted rather than undermined coordination among economic actors. Unable to escape from economic interdependence the Spanish economic actors have developed coordinating capacities at the macro and micro levels to address and resolve tensions between economic interdependence and political sovereignty. In this paper I show that there is at least one more variety than the two–LME and CME–that Hall and Soskice cite and also that it is possible to develop coordination capacities in countries that lack a strong tradition of such capacities. In particular, this paper analyzes the resurgence of national-level social bargaining in Spain in the 1990s. This development was the result of the reorientation of the strategies of the social actors. In a new economic and political context, marked by a process of institutional learning, trade unions have supported social bargaining as a defensive strategy to retake the initiative and influence policy outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gerald A. McDermott
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This article examines the political conditions shaping the creation of new institutional capabilities. It analyzes bank sector reforms in the 1990s in three leading postcommunist democracies–Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. It shows how different political approaches to economic transformation can facilitate or hinder the ability of relevant public and private actors to experiment and learn their new roles. With its emphasis on insulating power and rapidly implementing self-enforcing economic incentives, the “depoliticization” approach creates few changes in bank behavior and, indeed, impedes investment in new capabilities at the bank and supervisory levels. The “deliberativ e restructuring” approach fostered innovative, cost-effective monitoring structures for recapitalization, a strong supervisory system, and a stable, expanding bank sector.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary
  • Author: Stanislav Markus
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The literature on corporate governance in Russia stresses the abuse of shareholder rights in the face of various asset-diversion tactics by the management. Attributing this fiasco to a number of structural obstacles and the privatization legacy, the orthodox account fails to incorporate–let alone explain–the recent data demonstrating a qualitative improvement of corporate governance in crucial segments of the Russian economy. This paper disaggregates “corporate governance” into specific institutions and examines their quality at the firm level as well as by sector. The data supporting the analysis is drawn from recent studies by the OECD, UBS Warburg, CEFIR, and other organizations. The causal inference presented in this paper critically evaluates the impact of foreign capital on the improved corporate governance in Russia's blue-chip firms. The paper presents two alternative state-centered scenarios to explain the implementation of internationally accepted standards of corporate governance by Russia's big business.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia