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Wielding soft power in a world of neglect: the impact of the European employment strategy in Greece and Portugal

Zartaloudis, Sotirios (2013) Wielding soft power in a world of neglect: the impact of the European employment strategy in Greece and Portugal. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis investigates under what conditions the European Employment Strategy (EES) can influence the domestic employment policy of European Union member states. It aims to answer the question by examining two critical or ‘least likely’ cases: Greece and Portugal by focusing on three key areas of employment policy: public employment services, gender equality policies (mainstreaming, reconciliation and pay gaps) and ‘flexicurity’. The thesis employs the ‘Europeanization’ approach and tests the hypothesis that ‘if the EES altered Greek and Portuguese employment policy at all, it did so through one of three main Europeanization pathways: (i) policy learning; (ii) the domestic empowerment of policy entrepreneurs; (iii) financial conditionality.’ In examining the domestic impact of the EES the thesis does not presume an Europeanization effect a priori. Rather, the research begins from the domestic level (in a process-tracing method) and investigates whether, how and to what extent the EES had a role in the Greek and Portuguese domestic policy. The possibility of other variables, either external or internal, being pre-eminent is examined. The empirical study sought to triangulate a wide range of methods and sources. Although Greece and Portugal share a number of characteristics that may inhibit Europeanization in this type of area, empirical evidence largely supported the research hypothesis and suggested that two key conditions were conducive to the EES having a domestic impact in these cases: the existence of successful policy entrepreneurs who would actively use the EES as a policy window to promote their agenda and -when these were absent or lacked access to power and resources- the existence of the European Social Fund financial conditionality. Thus, soft power can be wielded in the world of neglect without policy learning which is considered the main ‘soft’ mechanism of domestic change in the literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Sotirios Zartaloudis
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute

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