The economic crisis has undoubtedly impacted welfare states through the austerity policies prioritised to purportedly lead economies back to a growth path. In this paper, we assess the effects of the crisis in those welfare states, focusing on income benefits and analysing cases of welfare state change before the crisis via gross replacement rates available through the OECD tax/benefits database. We begin with a literature review on impacts of the crisis on welfare states, then focus on our hypothesis that retrenchment trends were already in motion before the crisis. From our point of view, this is relevant to understanding the evolution of welfare states since 2001, particularly those effects attributable to the crisis (versus those that are not); this may also be of help in the prediction of future trends.
Although Spain’s economy was seen as a miracle during the most recent expansive phase (for its labour market outcomes in terms of job growth, among other things), the economy’s development during those years suffered from severe problems that deserve attention. This became more relevant in a context like the current one, where there is no consensus around which economic policies might lead the country back onto a stable growth path. Using a systemic approach in which we analyse the growth model, the role of Spain in the European division of labour, the financial sector, the labour market, the public sector, and the distribution of income, we contend that, in contrast with several narratives concerning the crisis in Spain: (i) the ‘living-beyond-our-means’ discourse is not true; and (ii) certain political and economic aspects, usually missing in those narratives, are essential to understanding the recent evolution of Spain.
The expansive phase experienced by the Spanish economy had long been praised, described in the early 2000s as an ‘economic miracle’. However, the crisis that struck in the late 2000s would become the deepest that the country had endured since at least the 1970s, leading to the general conclusion that its prior success had been a mirage rather than miracle. Using a political economy approach, this chapter identifies and analyses the factors that allow us to understand the Spanish model, including the role played by Spain in the European division of labour; the institutional framework of the domestic economy; and the key agents that have been central to the configuration of the whole model. Finally, it considers the distributive effects and consequences of the model.
The so-called ‘Spanish miracle’, beginning in the mid-1990s, eventually became a nightmare for the majority of the population, culminating in the present-day economic and political crisis. This book explores the main features of the Spanish political-economic model during both the growth and crisis periods.
Analyzing the causes and consequences of the continuing economic crisis in Spain, this book delves into five analytical axes: the evolution of the growth model; the role of Spain in the international division of labor; the financial sector and its influence on the rest of the economy; changes in the labor market; and the distributional consequences of both the expansive phase and the later crisis. Furthermore, contributors examine the formation of a triangle of actors (the government sector, building sector, and financial capital) that shaped the Spanish growth model, together with the effects of Spain’s membership in the Economic and Monetary Union. Also considering ecological problems, gender issues, and the immigration question, this book challenges the alleged recovery of living conditions during recent years, as well as the explanation of the crisis as the result of irrational behaviors or the greedy nature of certain actors.
The Political Economy of Contemporary Spain provides a coherent explanation of the Spanish economic crisis based on a pluralistic approach, while proposing several measures that could contribute to a transformation of Spain’s economic and social models.
The issue of global economic inequality has increasingly drawn the attention of both scholars, NGOs and international institutions during the last decades. In addittion, the current economic recession has worsened previous trends of increasing inequalities. Drawing from the literature that deals with the effects of adjustment policies applied in several European economies since the beginning of the crisis, we focus our analysis on inequalities and poverty. In this paper we assess to what extent inequality and poverty figures have followed a different path in Southern Europe compared with the EU-15 average. Besides, we delimit the particularities of Spain within the set of what has come to be known in recent years as the European ‘periphery’. We defend two theses: i) worsening labour markets are one of the main factors explaining the increasing inequality in Southern Europe; and ii) the underdevelopment of Mediterranean welfare states, together with the economic, social, and political barriers to strengthening their position in recent years, prevents the public sector from offsetting the negative consequences of crisis on inequality and poverty figures.
In this paper we will undertake a long-term analysis of the evolution of the Swedish welfare state, seeking to explain that evolution through the use of a systemic approach. That is to say, our approach will consider the interrelations between economic growth (EG), the socio-political institutional framework (IF), and the welfare state (WS) − understood as a set of institutions embracing the labour market and its regulation, the tax system, and the so-called social wage − in order to find the main variables that elucidate its evolution. We will show that the expansive phase of the Swedish welfare state can be explained by the symbiotic relationships developed in the WS-EG-IF interaction; whereas the period of welfare state retrenchment is one result of changes operating within the socio-political (IF) and economic (EG) bases.
In this article we analyse the relation between the dynamics of economic growth and the welfare state using the Swedish experience as a case study. We defend three theses concerning the Swedish experience: that the deep economic crisis of 1990–93 constituted the definite breaking point for the accumulation pattern in force since the 1950s (and in crisis since the mid-1970s); that the new accumulation pattern eroded the long-standing symbiotic relationships between economic growth and the welfare state; and that the welfare state has suffered retrenchments and qualitative changes of great importance, which can be fundamentally explained by the transformations in the accumulation pattern. We conclude that the changes introduced in Sweden have continued to subordinate the welfare state’s main goals, giving priority to the new accumulation pattern.
En este artículo se analizan las metodologías de evaluación del impacto en desarrollo de las operaciones financieras aplicadas por las principales instituciones bilaterales europeas de financiación del desarrollo (IEFD). Para ello, se identifican los criterios de selección de los proyectos financiados utilizando tanto una revisión de la literatura disponible (incluyendo sus propias páginas web) como entrevistas realizadas en las propias instituciones. El artículo concluye que las metodologías aplicadas por estas instituciones contienen limitaciones severas en la medida en que no incluyen un análisis del marco institucional en el que se desenvuelven dichas operaciones, razón por la que el impacto en desarrollo atribuido debe ponerse en entredicho.
El triunfo electoral del Frente Amplio (FA) uruguayo en octubre de 2004 representaba en apariencia una ruptura con toda la política económica seguida hasta entonces y que desembocó entre los años 1999 y 2002 en una grave crisis económica. En este artículo se analiza el proceso iniciado con las reformas del FA, partiendo de la evolución de la estructura productiva del país, los cambios en la distribución primaria de la renta y, finalmente, la distribución secundaria y la pobreza. El trabajo concluye que, en términos de política social, la ruptura ha sido real y ha tenido lugar una importante reducción de la desigualdad. Sin embargo, y a pesar de reconocer las limitaciones derivadas de un período de análisis aún necesariamente poco prolongado, los cambios en la estructura productiva han sido menores, lo que pone en riesgo los logros anteriores ante coyunturas económicas menos propicias que las actuales.
El presente artículo aborda la idea del «modelo social europeo» –expresión en boga en determinados círculos desde los años noventa– como construcción ideológica, en buena medida útil como opuesto al American way of life. Sin embargo, ya antes de la crisis, existían indicios que ponían en cuestión la existencia real de dicho modelo. Si bien es cierto que cabe hablar de cierta idiosincrasia social europea, también lo es que existe una notable diversidad en el seno de Europa. Un análisis detenido del contexto de la crisis pone de manifiesto que no ha habido convergencia real y que el signo de las políticas auspiciadas por la UE choca precisamente con los Estados de bienestar.