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Socio-Economic Review Advance Access

Published: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 23:47:21 GMT


The Perils of Vanguardism Explaining radical cuts to unemployment insurance in Sweden


Over the past 25 years, Sweden has gone from having one of the most generous unemployment benefit systems among the rich democracies to one of the least. This article advances a multi-causal explanation for this unexpected outcome. It shows how the benefit system became a target of successive right-wing governments due to its role in fostering social democratic hegemony. Employer groups, radicalized by the turbulent 1970s more profoundly than elsewhere, sought to undermine the system, and their abandonment of corporatism in the early 1990s limited unions’ capacity to restrain right-wing governments in retrenchment initiatives. Two further developments help to explain the surprising political resilience of the cuts: the emergence of a private (supplementary) insurance regime and a realignment of working-class voters from the Social Democrats to parties of the right, especially the nativist Sweden Democrats, in the context of a liberal refugee/asylum policy.

Identity priming and public opinion on income inequality: robustness testing of the micro-level mechanism of the paradox of redistribution


This study aims to contribute new insights into the ‘paradox of redistribution’ theory in light of identity priming. Korpi and Palme argued that low-income targeting leads to less redistribution and explained this trade-off as a result of coalition politics among different social strata. Indeed, recent empirical studies suggest that high-income earners tend to have more negative attitudes toward redistribution in the context of targeted spending (the polarization hypothesis). Contrary to most studies, which have relied on a single data source and measure, this study explores whether the polarization hypothesis is supported by multiple (both micro and macro) data sources. The findings of this study indicate that different question wordings produce different responses to inequality and redistribution. Some of the results confirmed the polarization hypothesis, whereas others did not. This article attempts to explain these discrepancies by comparing the wording patterns of inequality-attitude measures and arguing that high- and low-income earners polarize their views in the context of low-income targeting when their sense of ingroup favoritism and intergroup conflict is sufficiently triggered.

How does the inner circle shape the policy-planning network in France?


Policy-planning organizations have undergone significant development in France over the last two decades. Interconnecting the economic, political and intellectual elites, their study merits particular attention. This paper examines the active involvement of the business community in these organizations to highlight its role in the policy-planning process. Focusing on the top 100 corporations and the top 40 policy organizations, it analyses the structure of their interlocking directorates. The cohesion of the policy-planning network significantly relies on the brokering role of a few business leaders and economists. The network discloses a core-periphery structure and a left–right polarization. The results shed light on the relative convergence among the main policy organizations and the relegation of less consensual organizations to the network periphery.