Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - CRISIS_POLITICS (Sharing the Pain? Mass Politics and the Policy Responses to the Financial Crisis)

The project proposed for the CIG centered on studying two key areas of policy that have arisen as a result of the global financial markets and that have been deeply contested ever since: international bailouts and domestic austerity programs. A central component of this project was the development and administration of a large cross-national survey designed specifically to study these two issues. This project, and the data analysis that ensue, require also the recruitment and training of a dedicated team of researchers. Beyond that, the plan was to begin analyzing the data and drafting two research papers. Over the first half of the CIG funding period, I have managed to fulfill all these three objectives and even exceed the original plan in terms of the progress I had envisaged with respect to the write-up of the research papers.
I successfully carried out the survey design, managed to contract with survey vendors that administered studies in five European countries that are central for this study: France, UK, Italy, Greece and Spain. Moreover, I successfully recruited and hired a team of capable and hard-working research assistants to help work on the project. Over the period, I trained them in both quantitative and qualitative methods and am currently managing their ongoing work. As a result, I was already able to make substantial progress in drafting two academic papers.
The first paper focuses on the debate in Europe over the bailout to Greece. The key question it investigates is what explains the sharp divide among European publics over Grexit. The paper shows that prominent explanations offered so far – including differences in citizens' own economic interests, or the chasm between supporters of mainstream and extremist parties -- provide little insight into the public divide over the Grexit. Instead, the analysis indicates that the key factor explaining the public divide is the split between left and right. The paper then explores in detail why that is so: how come a cleavage that tends to delineate debates over domestic policy questions come to structure people's position also on a foreign policy issue, namely the possible default and exit of a currency-union member state? The second paper, also currently under work, centers on explaining mass support for austerity policies. Given the hardships that such policies entail, what explains the high rate of support for this approach in many advanced economies? Utilizing both observational and experimental work, this paper seeks to test a range of theories that may account for this puzzle.
Over the past year, I presented findings from the research in a range of fora, including both international conferences and as an invited speaker seminars and research workshops. These opportunities for presenting the research have helped improve the quality of the paper as well as provided me with ideas for further research.
In addition, I have invested in disseminating knowledge from these projects through making the research accessible to a wider audience through appearances in the media and writing of op-eds.

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Life Sciences
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