"In the European Union and beyond, policymakers have come to use the market as a general-purpose policy tool. Dissatisfied with the existing institutions of capitalism, they have introduced price-based competition into new areas of life and ratcheted up competition where markets were already present. Although the recent financial crises have sparked protests and fuelled criticisms of the capitalist system, policymakers are responding with public sector and welfare state reforms that, in fact, constitute an intensification of market relations in society.
I label the introduction and intensification of price-based competition ‘marketization’. The aim of the project is to establish a new strand of comparative institutional research into this phenomenon, by developing, grounding, and testing a general theory of marketization. The main proposition that the team will assess is that marketization leads to an increase in inequality, in terms of income, security, and participation; three separate mechanisms are proposed mediating this effect. TEMS opens new horizons in the understanding of economic governance, employment relations, and inequality. Data will be collected in four workplace contexts in four European countries – at least one of which will have implemented marketizing reforms as part of a financial bailout package – and a structured comparison will be conducted of the sixteen qualitative cases.
The objectives are to (1) synthesize the theory and evidence on marketization and its social effects; (2) qualitatively document the phenomenon in four workplace contexts in four countries; (3) conduct analysis of the data drawing on the comparative and grounded-theory traditions, and (4) disseminate findings through a book, a reader, a series of articles, and online methods. The research team will include the PI and two lecturers (all spending 50% of their time on this project), a post-doc (on 100%), and a PhD student."
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