6th Framework Programme (2002-2006)
 
 
 
Home > NEWGOV - Social Pacts>


Documents: Distributive Politics, Learning and Reform: Emergence and Evolution of National Social Pacts
 

The Role of Social Pacts in European Socio-Economic Governance
Martin Rhodes
NEWGOV Policy Brief no. 34, Summer 2008
download document

Book Manuscript - Social Pacts in Europe: Emergence, Evolution and Institutionalization
Sabina Avadagic, Martin Rhodes and Jelle Visser (editors)
This book produces the first full-length theoretical and comparative empirical study of new social pacts in Europe. Hitherto, analysis of the social pacts of the 1990s and 2000s has engaged in ad hoc theorizing and has been based on a limited number of cases. By contrast, this book brings a wide range of complementary theories to bear on the emergence, evolution and institutionalization of new social pacts, and compares a wide range of cases from both Western and Eastern Europe, including Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Poland. The theoretical innovations include a highly novel application of qualitative fuzzy-set analysis to the explanation of emergence; an adaptation of the extensive neo-corporatist theorizing of the 1960s and 1970s and a more contemporary game theoretic approach to understanding evolution; and an adaptation of traditional neo-corporatist theory and new institutionalist theory to understanding social pact consolidation and institutionalization. The empirical material for this analysis is drawn from the in-depth country studies, all of which are written along thematic, analytical lines, informed by a rigorous research design, by national experts. (This deliverable contains the introductory chapter and a list of contents of the book).
download document

Analytical Report 4: Synthesis: A Fuzzy Set Analysis of the Resurgence of Tripartite Concertation in the 1990s
Sabina Avdagic
European economies underwent major economic adjustment during the 1990s, combining reforms related to the preparation for EMU with welfare state recalibration and labour market deregulation. This paper seeks to understand national variation in the strategies of adjustment during that decade, and in particular in the varied reliance on social pacts as facilitators of reforms. Why were such concerted agreements struck in some countries, but not in others? Using a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs/QCA) of fourteen European countries, this paper assess the explanatory power of leading hypotheses about the emergence of social pacts. The analysis yields two key findings. First, the arguments which prevail in the literature, emphasizing the extent of economic problems associated either with the run-up to EMU or more general economic pressures, seem to explain only one part of the story. The ‘Maastricht imbalance’ (as manifested in high inflation and budget deficit), or alternatively high unemployment turned out to be neither necessary nor in themselves sufficient for the extensive reliance on social pacts. Rather, a high economic ‘problem load’ appears to be causally relevant only when combined with particular political and institutional conditions, namely the prevalence of electorally weak governments and/or an intermediate level of union centralization. Second, the analysis suggests that there is more than one causal pathway to concerted agreements. In examining the conjunction of multiple causal factors I find three distinct, theoretically and empirically relevant combinations of conditions that helped generate pacts during the 1990s.
download document

The institutionalisation of Social Pacts
Jelle Visser
This paper explores the logic and conditions of institutionalisation of social pacts. What accounts for the continuation and diffusion of social pacts as an institution, once it has emerged? I will approach this question in five steps. First, I will seek to define social pacts as a particular institution in democratic capitalist societies, closely related to coordination in labour (or employment) relation and consultation, or concertation, in welfare state politics. Next, I compare social pacts will be compared to other institutional outcomes. Thirdly, the concepts of institutions and institutionalisation will be clarified in order to better understand what is involved when we apply these concepts to social pacts. Fourthly, I shall try to identify the empirical patterns of institutionalisation, and de-institutionalisation, of social pacts in the 1990s and early years of the new millennium. The concluding section is devoted to a discussion of the causal mechanism explaining patters of institutionalisation and institutional change.
download document

Second-Generation Social Pacts and European Socio-Economic Governance: Institutional Emergence and Consolidation in the 1990s and 2000s
Martin Rhodes
The re-emergence of national concertation in Europe in the 1990s occurred in quite different places (e.g. southern Europe) and in rather different form (as ‘lean’ or ‘competitive’ rather than redistributive pacts) than their ‘first-generation’ predecessors of the 1950s-1980s in northern Europe. That difference has triggered a widespread debate as to the ‘why’ and ‘wherefore’ of these ‘second-generation’ social pacts. Precisely because they apparently have so little in common with their predecessors, much theorizing of new social pacts has abandoned the extensive neo-corporatist theory that accompanied the original social pact phenomenon. Instead, this paper places the new social pacts in the context of neo-corporatist theorizing since the 1960s, and seeks to explain their emergence and consolidation by adapting the earlier insights of the neo-corporatist literature. The conclusion is that new social pacts emerge under similar external shocks, and their fragility is due precisely to the absence of the conditions that allowed their predecessors to endure. Only when those preconditions are present – in the form of a hierarchy of goals and a licensing of private actors as ‘public-purpose’ agents and under conditions of complex reciprocity and political exchange (i.e., characteristics that closely resemble those of ‘first-generation’ pacts) – do new social pacts endure beyond basic single- or two-shot cooperation games.
download document

Institutional Emergence: Framework Evaluation - Analytical Report I – Synthesis
Sabina Avdagic
This report (D08) draws on this projects most developed country reports - Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain - presented in accompanying D09. This report links the empirical evidence from those country reports to the overall analytical framework. Section one assesses the relevance of the four central pillars of our bargaining model (D01) - bounded rationality, context-specific and changing preferences, non-unitary actors, and perceptions of power - for the real-world strategies of actors. The country reports confirm the relevance of those central pillars in shaping actor strategies but also indicate the need for further refinements to our indicators of relative power. Section two tests the bargaining model itself. We examine a number of the most important attempts to craft social pacts in the five countries concerned and confirm the general logic of the model, even if there are also several instances where social pact attempts do not conform to its core predictions. We therefore suggest ways of improving the model’s predictive power by making it more complex to allow for variation in the discount rates which indicate actors’ time preferences. Section three presents the steps we need to take in improving the model. In the conclusion we relate our study to the general literature on social pact emergence.
download document

The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: A Provisional Framework for Comparative Analysis (EUROGOV Working Paper No. N-05-01 - external link)
Sabina Avdagic, Martin Rhodes, Jelle Visser
This paper provides the scientific framework for the NEWGOV project Distributive Politics, Learning and Reform. In Part I, we establish our own definition and conceptualization of social pacts. We distinguish four types of pacts with different scope and depth: shadow pacts, headline pacts, coordinated wage setting, and embedded pacts akin to neocorporatist concertation. Part II is concerned with institutional formation, i.e. how such social pacts come into existence. We outline some standard functionalist accounts of institutional emergence, and critically examine them before proposing an alternative bargaining model. Part III is concerned with institutional development, i.e. what determines the continuation and institutionalization of social pacts or their de-institutionalization and demise. Based on the taxonomy of social pacts presented in Part I, we define two alternative evolutionary paths for social pacts (institutionalization and de-institutionalization), and identify three types of trajectory along which social pacts develop (repetition vs. abandonment; integration vs. disintegration; and expansion vs. reduction). We then outline four alternative mechanisms that may potentially drive the institutionalization or de-institutionalization of pacts. Grounded in the four major approaches for analysing institutions, i.e. the functionalist, utilitarian, normative, and power-distributional perspectives, this section proposes four groups of hypotheses to be evaluated in our empirical research.
download document

Life-course savings schemes and social policy reform in the Netherlands. On the relationship between the welfare state, social pacts and the management of new social risks
Marc van der Meer and Frans Leijnse
In the Netherlands, a unique though controversial life-course savings scheme (‘levensloopregeling’) will be introduced in January 2006. This paper discusses the origins of this scheme as an example of policy adjustment, which aims to strike a balance between new individual and collective labour relations. It appears that the standardised sequence of education, working and retirement has evolved into an erratic and less-predictable labour market pattern. Accordingly, a change in the nature of external and susceptible risks has occurred. The paper discusses the introduction of the life-course savings scheme, which gained political momentum when the need for cost containment of both the early retirement provisions and wage control were combined, culminating in a broad social pact between the government and social partners. We conclude that the management of social risks should be evaluated not only in terms of the ‘combination scenario’ as a particular form of a transitional labour market model, but also as an indicator for the current reform of the corporatist welfare state. Published as TLM.NET Working Paper No. 2005-19, Amsterdam: SISWO/Social Policy Research.
download document

Revised Country Report: The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: Ireland
Rory O’Donnell, Maura Adshead and Damian Thomas
This report provides an account of the emergence and evolution of social pacts in Ireland. Section II provides a brief description of the seven social pacts in Ireland in the period since 1987. Section III describes the main actors and institutions in place at the time of Ireland’s first social partnership agreement in 1987. The emergence of that first pact is described and analysed in Section IV. That section finishes with a summary discussion of the bargaining dynamics, identifying the role of bounded rationality, context-specific preferences, non-unitary actors and perceptions of power shifts. Section V describes and analyses the institutionalisation of social pacts in Ireland. We argue that there have been two broad trajectories of institutionalisation in Ireland’s twenty-year experience with social partnership. The first was the institutionalisation of a ‘partnership’ approach to public policy and governance in a wide range of policy areas. The second was the transition to a new regime of wage bargaining and industrial relations. Section V finishes with a discussion of the mechanisms of institutionalisation. We suggest that all five mechanisms of institutionalisation identified by Avdagic et al (2005) we relevant. The significant degree of institutionalisation, documented in Section V, would seem to have been driven by functionality, outcomes, networks, norms and power factors. In the conclusion, Section VI, we return to some of the themes arising in the analysis. In particular we discuss institutionalisation in the sphere public policy rather than of employer-union relations, the concept of ‘shared understanding’ and a possible ‘small country effect’.
document only available in intranet section

Workshop #3 and Practitioner Forum: National Social Pacts Conference
Martin Rhodes, Sabina Avdagic, Jelle Visser
The main aim of the project workshop no. 3 in Lisbon on 30-31 May 2008 was to meet and decide on the revisions needed to existing country reports and overview analyses in order to produce a book presenting project outcomes. Over the two days of the workshop the project partners compared findings and sought to identify key issues and parts of the country analyses that would need to be revised (or written) before the draft of the book is finalised.
document only available in intranet section

Revised Country Reports: Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain
Martin Rhodes, Sabina Avdagic, Jelle Visser and Collaborators
This deliverable (D09) presents some of the most developed country reports that have been revised in accordance with guidelines established and given to our country authors at Workshop 2 (D07) held at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies in October 2005. The following studies of the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain accompany our first analytical synthesis report D08. The objective of these reports is to begin linking the empirical evidence discovered in the country analyses to project 18a’s overall analytical framework. The reports confirm the relevance of the central pillars of the project’s bargaining model (D01) in shaping actors’ strategies, while also indicating the need for further refinements to our indicators of relative power (see deliverable D08 – First Synthesis Report). Along with further refinements currently being made to the Irish and Portuguese reports, the following country analyses represent the next analytical step towards a book on contemporary social pacts and the governance of distributive issues in Europe.
document only available in intranet section

Workshop ‘Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts #2: Country Reports and Cross-National Analysis’
Martin Rhodes
Project 18a studies the sources (emergence) and dynamics (evolution) of learning and innovation of socio-economic governance, focusing on social pacts, partnership or concertation. The main research questions in the first 18 month period are the conditions under which social partnership and pacts have emerged and how these birthmarks influence their further evolution (‘institutional emergence’); the reasons for and nature of social partnership in practice and the conditions influencing their development and use by participants (‘institutional evolution’). These questions are being studied through comparative study of concertation practices, partnership and pacts in Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Slovenia, Portugal and the Netherlands. The purpose of the second project workshop was to bring the team leaders and country authors together for a first-stage analysis of the results. This will clearly not be the end of that process, and country authors will return to their prior to submitting their final results later in the second year of the project. Nevertheless, the workshop was extremely useful for (a) giving an opportunity to the project directors to assess the work of the country respondents and to ensure that it was conforming to the guidelines of the framework document and analytical grid (WP 1, D1) and (b) feeding back the country results into the grid and seeing if it indeed works as well as it should. In light of the workshop, some changes will be necessary in the framework and the grid.
document only available in intranet section

The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: Country Papers
Various, coordinated by Martin Rhodes, Jelle Visser, and Sabina Avdagic
We now understand from a plethora of studies conducted in the 1990s how different social pacts of the last 10-15 years are from the neo-corporatist deals or political exchange that were characteristic of the Keynesian-era. These different features can be understood in terms of (a) the context in which they happen; (b) the content of pacts; (c) their aims; and (d) a much stronger role for government. Due to this distinctiveness, they have been characterized variously as "competitive corporatism", "supply-side corporatism", "post-corporatism" or "organized decentralization". However, we still lack a rigorous analytical framework able to facilitate comparative analysis and generate more wide-ranging conclusions regarding both the determinants of actors’ behaviour and thus the likelihood that social pacts will emerge, and of their persistence and institutionalisation as a specific form of governance. Hence, two main questions guide our analysis in this project. The first is the question of institutional formation, i.e., how do social pacts emerge? The second is the question of institutional development, in which we try to understand how social pacts subsequently evolve. To answer these questions, we are relying on the in-depth empirical analysis of seven European countries: Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. These cases provide sufficient variation with regard to the degree of success or failure of social pact negotiations and of more regularized political exchange. Our empirical evidence is being collected and organized by respective country research teams around the common analytical framework. The country chapters presented here are the first drafts of the reports that will underpin the final study. Each will undergo further revisions, as will the framework document put in place in early 2005 by the project directors.
document only available in intranet section

Database
Jelle Visser
For the purpose of the comparative – quantitative and qualitative – analysis of social pacts and related agreements and “new” forms of governance between public authorities, unions and employers, the University of Amsterdam has developed a database covering economic, political and institutional data in 26 advanced economies over a range of 45 years. The economic and political data are from international sources like the OECD, United Nations, ILO and Worldbank. The institutional data, with measurements for various types and forms of social pacts and agreements, was developed specifically for the project and is based on new data, using the 7 national reports as well as various other sources for other countries. The database is meant to be a “public source” for the use of researchers and policy-makers – as a source of documentation and as an analytical instrument. The research team foresees measures allowing interactive use of the database. We intend to have the database ready for (unrestricted) public use per 1-1-2008.
document only available in intranet section

The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: A Provisional Framework for Comparative Analysis
Sabina Avdagic, Martin Rhodes, Jelle Visser
This paper provides the scientific framework for the project on Distributive Politics, Learning and Reform directed by Martin Rhodes, Sabina Avdagic and Jelle Visser. In Part I, we establish our own definition and conceptualization of social pacts. On the basis of two dimensions, we distinguish between four types of pacts with different scope and depth: shadow pacts, headline pacts, coordinated wage setting, and embedded pacts akin to neocorporatist concertation. Since social pacts represent rules that are supposed to guide interaction between socio-economic actors, they qualify as institutions of socio-economic governance. Part II is concerned with the question of institutional formation, i.e. how such social pacts come into existence. To analyze this question, we outline some standard functionalist accounts of institutional emergence, and critically examine them in relation to recent experiences with social pacts. As an alternative, we propose a bargaining model that is to be evaluated on the basis of our empirical material. Part III is concerned with the question of institutional development, i.e. what determines whether the continuation and institutionalization of social pacts or, conversely, their de-institutionalization and demise. Based on the taxonomy of social pacts presented in Part I, we first set out to define two alternative evolutionary paths for social pacts (institutionalization and de-institutionalization), and to identify three types of trajectory along which social pacts develop (repetition vs. abandonment; integration vs. disintegration; and expansion vs. reduction). The subsequent section then outlines four alternative mechanisms that may potentially drive the institutionalization or de-institutionalization of pacts. Grounded in the four major approaches for analyzing institutions, i.e. the functionalist, utilitarian, normative, and power-distributional perspectives, this section proposes four groups of hypotheses to be evaluated against each other in our empirical material.
document only available in intranet section

Creation of Project Team
Martin Rhodes
The Project on ‘Distributive Politics: Experimentation, Learning and Reform’ studies the sources (emergence) and dynamics (evolution) of learning and innovation in socio-economic governance, focusing on social pacts, partnership and concertation. The questions addressed in this project are studied through the comparative study of social pacts and concertation practices in seven European countries: Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain. For this reason, the project will include a number of country-specialist partners in charge of conducting research on these national cases and producing country reports.
document only available in intranet section

Workshop 'Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: A Tentative Framework for Comparative Analysis'
Sabina Avdagic, Martin Rhodes, Jelle Visser
The first workshop bringing together all participants in the project was held at the European University Institute on 15th January 2005. The workshop had two basic aims. First of all, it was organised around the discussion of a common theoretical and methodological framework to guide the work done by project partners on their respective national cases. The basis for the discussion was the paper on 'The Emergence and Evolution of Social Pacts: A Tentative Framework for Comparative Analysis' by the project directors. The second main objective of the workshop was to discuss and debate the theoretical propositions and hypotheses and questions guiding the project and to develop jointly a general schedule, timetable for the delivery of research outcomes and other issues related to participants involvement in the project. Finally, a new meeting-workshop was scheduled for June 2005.
document only available in intranet section

Top

Page updated: 28/07/08

Co-ordinated by the European University Institute