English title: The end of the consensus? Labour market developments and the politics of retrenchment

Author(s): Anne Wren - Philipp Rehm -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014


Recent decades have witnessed rapidly increasing levels of trade in several areas of services. This development affects the distribution of workers at different skill levels between exposed and sheltered sectors. Using EU-KLEMS data, we show that low- and medium-skilled workers have become increasingly concentrated in sectors sheltered from global markets. High-skilled workers, in contrast, have become increasingly concentrated in sectors that are internationally exposed. We contend that this shift has important consequences for welfare state politics. While conventional wisdom has it that exposure to international trade fuels demand for social protection, we argue that international trade is correlated with more conservative social policy attitudes and less support for left parties, at least for highly skilled workers (likely because exposed workers worry about international competitiveness). We present evidence, based on European Social Surveys, that is consistent with our account.

Volume: 12

Issue: 2

From page no: 409

To page no: 435

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/SER/MWU012

Journal: Socio-Economic Review

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