English title: Crisis Politics in Europe: Why Austerity Is Easier to Implement in Some Countries Than in Others

Author(s): Stefanie Walter -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2016

Abstract

When countries face balance-of-payments crises, their policy responses vary widely. This article argues that the choice between the two main options of internal adjustment (i.e., austerity and structural reforms) and external adjustment (i.e., exchange-rate devaluation) depends on how costly each of these strategies is for a country overall. Although the choice of adjustment strategy is thus structurally determined, the level of political conflict associated with crisis management depends on both the national vulnerability profile and partisan interests. Moreover, irrespective of the adjustment strategy, all governments design the specific reforms in ways that shelter their own voters. Empirically, this article uses qualitative case studies and survey data to examine the significant variation in crisis responses, crisis politics, and distributive outcomes of the 2008-2010 global financial crisis in eight Eastern European countries. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the Eastern European experience for crisis politics in the Eurozone crisis.

Volume: 49

Issue: 7

From page no: 841

To page no: 873

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0010414015617967

Journal: Comparative Political Studies