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Bianculli A.,Institute Barcelona dEstudis Internacionals IBEI | Jordana J.,University Pompeu Fabra
Journal of European Social Policy | Year: 2013

Within the Southern European social model, Spain stands out because of the absence of a coherent child benefit policy. Spain not only constitutes a remarkable case of policy deactivation in the 1970s and 1980s, but also of a continuous series of instable decisions for more than three decades up until the present time. To account for the erratic child benefit policy in Spain since the country's transition to democracy, this article goes beyond functionalist and institutional explanations. Our main contention is that intra-party configurations, namely different power resources and conflicting preferences about redistributive issues, prevented political parties from holding consistent and stable stances over this policy sector, even when in office. In turn, this triggered a non-decision-making dynamic in the public arena, setting the path for the non-development of child benefit policies in Spain. The argument relies on quantitative data on regulatory changes in child benefits in Spain and Portugal from 1976 to 2005, and qualitative evidence on the Spanish domestic policy process through a wide range of primary and secondary resources. © The Author(s) 2013.

Karagiannis Y.,Institute Barcelona dEstudis Internacionals IBEI | Konstantinidis N.,University of Cambridge
Global Policy | Year: 2015

Does conditionality always work? If, as it appears, the answer is negative, why do certain externally incentivized countries comply while others do not? To answer these questions we rely on cognitive psychology and dynamic Bayesian principal-agent games to develop a theory of downwards-sloping long-run supply curves. More specifically, we explain how, when applied to an intrinsically motivated agent, external incentives imposed by an informed principal carry an informative signal which in the long run crowds out the agent's intrinsic motivation. To probe the plausibility of the ensuing hypotheses we compare the reformist pace of two centre-left governments of financially distressed Southern European countries during the eurozone crisis, namely Greece's Papandreou administration and Spain's Rodríguez Zapatero administration. Based on the analysis of more than 400 newspaper reports and 12 expert interviews we find positive support for our theory: while Papandreou quickly admitted the need for far-reaching and politically costly reforms, Zapatero initially delayed all kinds of measures. But as European incentives kicked in, the strongly incentivized Papandreou went into irreversible reform fatigue, while the softly incentivized Zapatero dedicated his last months in office to bring about unprecedented reforms. We conclude with some indications about future research in this direction. © 2015 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Muro D.,Institute Barcelona Destudis Internacionals Ibei
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism | Year: 2015

Spain and the United Kingdom have experienced similar types of political violence. Since the 1960s, both countries have suffered casualties as a result of long-standing ethno-nationalist conflicts as well as terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda–inspired groups. In spite of these similarities, the two countries display a striking variation in the attitudes to victims. In Spain, Associations of Victims of Terrorism have been highly visible and influential, whereas United Kingdom-based organizations have not captured the public's imagination and the attention of policymakers in the same way. Spanish associations of victims have been present in the public sphere and have routinely provided their opinions on counterterrorist policy and appropriate government legislation whereas this sort of political activity is difficult to trace in the United Kingdom. As a result of this puzzle, the article tries to answer the following question: Why are associations of victims of terrorism by Al Qaeda–inspired attacks more influential in Spain than in the United Kingdom? The article will argue that political and sociocultural variables account for the difference. More specifically, the article demonstrates that the experience of both ethno-nationalist and jihadist political violence has affected party systems and cultural frames differently, hence providing distinct sets of political opportunities for victims’ associations to carry out their lobbying strategies. © 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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