Sharing the Rewards, Dividing the Costs? The Electoral Consequences of Social Pacts and Legislative Reform in Western Europe Public Deposited

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  • Research suggests that electoral pressures may provide an explanation for why governments offer pacts to unions and employers rather than acting through legislation when faced with the need to pass potentially unpopular reforms to welfare policies, wages, and labour markets. Here, we analyse whether governments’ pursuit of pacts affects their vote share and increases the probability that they gain re-election for 16 West European countries between 1980 and 2012. We find that the presence of social pacts has a significant and positive effect on incumbents’ vote shares at the next election and also results in a higher probability of re-election. While all types of governments benefit electorally from pacts, the electoral penalties from the pursuit of unilateral legislation on policy reforms harm single-party majorities the most, minority governments moderately, and coalition majorities the least.
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  • Hamann, K., Johnston, A., Katsanidou, A., Kelly, J., & Pollock, P. H. (2015). Sharing the rewards, dividing the costs? The electoral consequences of social pacts and legislative reform in western Europe. West European Politics, 38(1), 206-227. doi:10.1080/01402382.2014.911481
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  • 38
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  • 1
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  • We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Economic and Social Research Council, grant number RES-000-22-2149.
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