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Distributing the Pain: Vulnerability to Adjustment and Crisis Politics in Balance-of-Payments Crises


Walter, Stefanie (2014). Distributing the Pain: Vulnerability to Adjustment and Crisis Politics in Balance-of-Payments Crises. In: American Political Science Association. Annual Meeting, Washington, 28 August 2014 - 31 August 2014, 31.

Abstract

National policy responses to the euro crisis and political difficulties in their implementation have varied considerably across the peripheral Eurozone member states. This paper argues that when countries are faced with balance-of-payments crises such as the euro crisis, variation in societies’ vulnerabilities to austerity and structural reforms, relative to the alternative of devaluation can explains these differences. It argues that political difficulties, delayed and mixed adjustment strategies, and use of external help are particularly likely when the economy is vulnerable to any policy adjustment. In contrast, decisive adjustment is more feasible and political difficulties much less pronounced when one type of vulnerability dominates both among the country as a whole and the government’s core constituency. Irrespective of the vulnerability profile and the policy response chosen, however, the government always tries to shelter its own core constituency as much as possible from the negative consequences of the crisis. Empirically, the paper evaluates this argument by analyzing variation in crisis responses, crisis politics, and distributive outcomes to the global financial crisis of 2007-10 in eight Eastern European countries, including the Baltic states and Bulgaria, which successfully implemented internal devaluation. The paper concludes by comparing the vulnerability profiles and crisis politics in the peripheral Eurozone member states with those of the Eastern European countries.

Abstract

National policy responses to the euro crisis and political difficulties in their implementation have varied considerably across the peripheral Eurozone member states. This paper argues that when countries are faced with balance-of-payments crises such as the euro crisis, variation in societies’ vulnerabilities to austerity and structural reforms, relative to the alternative of devaluation can explains these differences. It argues that political difficulties, delayed and mixed adjustment strategies, and use of external help are particularly likely when the economy is vulnerable to any policy adjustment. In contrast, decisive adjustment is more feasible and political difficulties much less pronounced when one type of vulnerability dominates both among the country as a whole and the government’s core constituency. Irrespective of the vulnerability profile and the policy response chosen, however, the government always tries to shelter its own core constituency as much as possible from the negative consequences of the crisis. Empirically, the paper evaluates this argument by analyzing variation in crisis responses, crisis politics, and distributive outcomes to the global financial crisis of 2007-10 in eight Eastern European countries, including the Baltic states and Bulgaria, which successfully implemented internal devaluation. The paper concludes by comparing the vulnerability profiles and crisis politics in the peripheral Eurozone member states with those of the Eastern European countries.

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Additional indexing

Other titles:Distributing the Pain: Societal Vulnerabilities and the Choice between Internal and External Adjustment
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Event End Date:31 August 2014
Deposited On:19 Dec 2014 13:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:40
Publisher:s.n.

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