Good news. The Journal of European Public Policy just accepted the “Does War Exposure Increase Support for State Penetration? Evidence from a Natural Experiment” (with André Walter). Here is the abstract:
A vast literature argues that war exposure has left an enduring footprint on state penetration of society, both with regard to taxation and state intervention into the economy. In this way, interstate warfare has contributed to declining levels of inequality. Yet, several questions remain. Most notably, it is unclear whether war increases popular support for penetration or if changes in taxation and economic intervention are primarily elite-driven. Existing research rests mainly at the macro level and is therefore unable to distinguish between the two mechanisms. In this paper, we employ a natural experiment to investigate whether direct war exposure affects popular preferences for state penetration in the post-war period. We use accidental bombardments of Swiss municipalities during the Second World War as treatments to examine whether popular preferences expressed in direct democratic votes on tax policies and economic intervention in war-affected municipalities followed different trajectories in the post-war period compared to municipalities that were not the target of accidental bombardments. We show that war exposure increased popular support for state intervention into the economy, but we do not find an effect of accidental bombardments on popular support for more progressive taxes or the extension of fiscal capacity.
Great news. Theory & Society just accepted my paper “Agency in Historical Institutionalism: Coalitional Work in the Creation, Maintenance, and Change of Institutions”. Here is the abstract:
Institutionalism gives priority to structure over agency. Yet institutions have never developed and operated without the intervention of interested groups. This paper develops a conceptual framework for the role of agency in historical institutionalism. Based on recent contributions following the ‘coalitional turn’ and drawing on insights from sociological institutionalism, it argues that agency plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of social coalitions that stabilize but also challenge institutions. Without such agency, no coalition can be created, maintained, or changed. Similarly, without a supporting coalition, no contested institution can survive. Yet, due to collective action problems, such coalitional work is challenging. This coalitional perspective offers a robust role for agency in historical institutionalism, but it also explains why institutions remain stable despite agency. In addition, this paper forwards several portable propositions that allow for the identification of who is likely to develop agency and what these actors do.
Great news! Anna Wilson will join the GOVPET team @ HSG soon. She obtained one of the prestigious International Postdoctoral Fellowships and will continue her research on the training and hiring behavior of firms in collective skill formation systems. I am excited to welcome her in St. Gallen!
CPE@HSG research group member André Walter just got his article “Socialist Threat? Radical Party Entry, Electoral Alliances, and the Introduction of Proportional Representation” accepted at the American Political Science Review. Congratulations! Have also a look at his other recent publications. Here is a link to his website: https://andrewalter.netlify.app/
The British Journal of Industrial Relations just accepted our paper “New Interest Associations in a Neo-Corporatist System: Adapting the Swiss Training System to the Service Economy”. Here is the abstract:
Collective skill formation systems need to adapt to economic change, most notably the expansion of the service economy. However, deeply anchored in the craft and industrial sectors, these systems rely on neo-corporatist institutions to undergird firms’ training provision, which are often missing in the service sector. We show that Switzerland’s voluntaristic approach to interest intermediation provided the flexibility needed to extend vocational training to economic sectors without neo-corporatist institutions. Yet, these adaptations resulted in the emergence of interest associations characterised by low levels of generalisability and governability. These new associations co-exist with neo-corporatist ones, rendering the overall training system surprisingly heterogeneous.
Good news. The Journal of Public Policy just accepted the paper “Direct Democracy, Coalition Size, and Public Spending” (co-authored with Lucas Leemann and André Walter) for publication. Here is the abstract:
This article contributes to the literature on direct democracy and public spending in two ways. First, we explore how direct democratic institutions interact with a specific aspect of the representative system, the size of the governing coalition, to influence public spending. Second, based on newly collected data, we examine the relationship between three different direct democratic institutions, coalition size, and public spending over the period from 1860 to 2015. Empirically, we find that initiatives increase the size of the public sector under single-party governments, but this positive relationship disappears as coalition size increases. In contrast, we find that financial referendums slow down the growth of public spending, while law referendums are not systematically associated with public spending. Finally, we find that the relationship between direct democratic institutions, coalition size, and public spending does not change over time despite the long period under investigation.
Good news from Socio-Economic Review. The 2019 Impact Factor for SER has risen to 3.774 (2018: 3.328). With this score, SER remains in the top 10% of the ranked journals in political science, sociology, and economics. More precisely, SER ranks 6th in Sociology, 11th in Political Science, and 34th in economics. The 5-year Impact Factor is now at 5.176.
Good news. The European Journal of Political Research has accepted our manuscript “No Direct Taxation Without New Elite Representation Industrialization and the Domestic Politics of Taxation” (co-authored with Lucas Leemann and André Walter). Here is the abstract:
The 19th century marked the founding period of modern public finance. We examine the domestic and non-war related determinants of direct taxation in this early democratic period and in a state building context. We argue that the reasons for the expansion of direct taxation can be found in the political competition between different elite groups in the context of industrialization. Systematically differentiating between economic and political arenas, we show that intra-elite competition in industrializing economies leads to higher levels of direct taxation only if the new economic elites are able to translate their economic power into the political arena, either through the representative system or by extra-parliamentary means. In addition, we demonstrate that these processes are directly linked to public investments in policy areas related to the interests of new economic elites such as public education. Our analysis is based on novel subnational data from the period 1850 to 1910, enabling us to concentrate on the domestic determinants of direct taxation.