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Essays on the two-level political economy of eurozone crisis conditionality

Barroso, Antonio (2022) Essays on the two-level political economy of eurozone crisis conditionality. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis investigates how the interaction between international and domestic politics shapes economic policy under conditionality in the Eurozone. Despite becoming politically toxic in certain countries following the Eurozone crisis, conditionality remains an important tool in EU economic governance. However, there are several questions regarding conditionality on which our understanding is still limited. First, how much space do borrower governments have to make choices under policy conditions? Second, what factors explain borrower governments’ strategic behavior under conditionality? Third, under what conditions can conditionality lead to the implementation of policy changes by borrower governments with limited reform capacity? The three papers that form this dissertation address these questions by conducting in-depth comparative and single-case studies. Much of the analysis in the case studies relies on 35 original semi-structured in depth interviews with senior Eurozone and IMF policymakers, including two former prime ministers, six former finance ministers, two former labor ministers, one national central bank governor, and a former European Commissioner. Paper 1 demonstrates that the interplay between conditionality and implementation constraints determines the space borrower governments have to choose a fiscal consolidation mix. Paper 2 contends that electoral concerns and bargaining power determine whether a government uses external and domestic constraints strategically during an adjustment program. Paper 3 shows strict conditionality can promote policy changes in countries with limited reform capacity, but at the cost of significantly reduced policy discretion for the borrower government. The dissertation contributes mainly to debates about the viability of conditionality in EU governance but also has relevant implications for the scholarship on IMF programs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Antonio Barroso
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Featherstone, Kevin and Hopkin, Jonathan

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