Recent Submissions

  • Voters, issues, and party loyalty: The 2022 Italian election under the magnifying glass

    Improta, Marco; Mannoni, Elisabetta; Marcellino, Costanza; Trastulli, Federico; Department of Political Science (Firenze University Press, 2022)
    The 2022 Italian election marked a historic victory for the centre-right coalition. This camp was spearheaded by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FDI), with a solid performance of this radical right party across the country. However, considerable nuance emerges by looking at different aspects of the vote, which we do by leveraging original data from the pre-electoral wave of the 2022 CISE/ICCP survey. After recapping both the build-up to and results of the election, we employ this data on these specific fronts. First, we analyse vote flows between the 2018 and 2022 elections in three big cities in Northern, Central, and Southern Italy: Turin, Florence, and Naples. This analysis shows that FDI becomes more competitive in these traditionally unfavourable contexts, although less so in Naples. Second, we analyse data on the configuration of Italian voters’ preferences, which reveals an increasingly progressive electorate in an apparent contradiction with the election results. Third and final, we go deeper into the demand-side picture by assessing the role of sociodemographic characteristics over vote choice, presenting the voter profile of the five largest parties: the three main centre-right parties, the Democratic Party, and the Five Star Movement. Overall, the findings that emerge from our article enhance a more fine-grained understanding of this crucial election in Italy.
  • An Economic Understanding of Populism: A Conceptual Framework of the Demand and the Supply Side of Populism

    Benczes, István; Szabó, Krisztina; Department of Political Science (SAGE, 2022)
    This article assesses progress in the economics-centred literature on populism along three key themes and develops a conceptual framework to better understand the phenomenon. On the demand side (t − 1), economics research identifies the effect of an exogenous economic shock on a marginalised segment of society and works with the economic voting hypothesis. On the supply side of populists in power (t), in the literature, populist rule is typically associated with unsustainable expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and with trade protectionism. At t  + 1, by using rational and biased belief assumptions, economists provide implicit inputs for a seemingly paradoxical question: why is a populist re-elected even if most populist policies assumably end up in Pareto inferior outcomes? This article summarises and criticises the relevant economic literature and shows that not only political science, but economics scholarship is instrumental for studying populism at all three stages.
  • The reverse impact of politics on the COVID-19 response

    AbiGhanem, Nassim; Hobaika, Zeina; Möller, Lena-Maria; Völkel, Jan Claudius; Department of Political Science (RoutledgeLondon, 2022)
    While most intersecting analysis on the spread of COVID-19 and politics so far has attempted to unpack the impact of the pandemic on national, regional and international politics, this chapter argues that there is a reverse influence where regional politics has also shaped the responses of some governments to the pandemic, ultimately affecting the status of their healthcare system. Lebanon serves as a case study. This chapter draws on the regional political settings that affected Lebanon’s policy for battling COVID-19. Although Lebanon was initially lauded for responding effectively to the first wave of the pandemic compared to other countries in the region, its punctured sovereignty through Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, caused more damage than publicly admitted. For instance, Hezbollah twisted the government’s arm into continuing flights to and from Iran despite Iran’s record number of infections. This allowed the virus to spread at a much higher rate. This chapter demonstrates how a regional hegemon burdened the host state of their proxies for the hegemon’s benefit.
  • The Role of Institutions: A Cross-country Analysis of Renminbi Trading in Foreign Exchange Markets

    Zucker-Marques, Marina; Da Silva, Pedro Perfeito; Department of Political Science (Wiley, 2022)
    We explore how China's geographically targeted policies impact RMB overseas use individually or in combination. The policies include swap agreements, clearing banks, investment quotas, and direct trading between Chinese renminbi (RMB) and non-USD currencies. Adopting a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis and using Bank of International Settlements cross-country data on foreign exchange markets, we find that institution building has lowered the barriers to international adoption of the RMB. Specifically, for countries economically close to China, high RMB trading is explained by either (i) having a clearing bank in the host market and direct quotations between the RMB and the local currency, or (ii) being a financial center and having access to the Chinese capital market. This combination of policies is explained by the creation of (i) “trading posts” that provide RMB liquidity abroad, and (ii) channels that allow actors to “recycle” offshore RMB funds. We triangulate our results with interviews conducted with senior People's Bank of China officials.
  • A Post-Development Perspective on the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences

    Orbie, Jan; Alcazar III, Antonio Salvador M.; Sioen, Tinus; Other (Cogitatio Press, 2022)
    Trade policy is generally considered to be a key leverage in the pursuit of labor norms, environmental standards, and human rights. This is even more so for the European Union (EU), which exerts an extensive market power and exclusive competences in trade while lacking a full-fledged foreign policy. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for making sustainable development provisions “enforceable” and for more frequently applying trade sanctions. Taking a post-development perspective, we interrogate the EU’s enforceability discourse around the trade–sustainability nexus. We focus specifically on the conditionality behind the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The EU GSP regime bears the “carrot” (reduced tariffs), the “stick” (preferential tariff withdrawals), and increasingly intrusive “monitoring” mechanisms. Drawing on the post-development literature, we problematize the discourses that fundamentally enframe the EU GSP conditionality regime: development through trade, performance of power, and epistemic violence. Empirically, we analyze these frames by looking at public-facing texts produced by policy elites in the EU as well as in Cambodia and the Philippines during the two most recent GSP reform cycles since 2014. We argue that the dominant discursive acts of policy elites in the EU and the two target countries congeal into a global presupposition that there is no alternative to the EU GSP regime, thereby effacing counterhegemonic perspectives and stripping emancipatory notions such as “dialogue” and “partnership” of their radical potential. This formulation demands a genuine commitment to researching with the very people the EU is intent on regulating, reforming, and rescuing to unsettle taken-for-granted views about EU trade sanctions.
  • Steppingstones in larger struggles. How can we combine colliding struggles in the care crisis?

    Sebaly, Bernadett; Other (University of Deusto, 2023)
    The question of whether to increase the caregiver benefit is a controversial one among policy experts and movement actors. It is criticized as counterproductive to the emancipation of disabled people and women. At the same time, it becomes the goal of organizing campaigns as it provides immediate solutions, particularly to low-income families. This spotlights two questions: 1. How can activists fight for large-scale, transformative outcomes and achieve real, tangible changes in people’s lives? 2. How can a constituency fight for its liberation without leaving other constituencies behind? Drawing on the analysis of the Hungarian caregivers’ struggle, I reveal prospects for an emancipatory resolution of these two questions. I suggest seeing the struggles of affected constituencies as different dimensions of the care crisis and propose an organizing framework that engages with the deep structural underpinnings of capitalism and takes the issues of power and control inherent in care relations seriously.
  • The role of social media in facilitating minority mobilisation: The Russian‐language pro‐war movement in Germany amid the invasion of Ukraine

    Sablina, Liliia; Other (Wiley, 2023)
    This article examines the mobilisation of minority groups along ethnic and national lines through social media, an area that has not been fully explored. The study analyses the case of Russian‐speaking minority members who were mobilised in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 via the messaging app Telegram. By taking a bottom‐up perspective, the article reconstructs the pathways of the actors in these mobilisation processes and draws upon diverse literature in digital nationalism, social movements and media studies. The study suggests that social media facilitates minority mobilisation through three primary functions: It allows for the reproduction of ethnicised and racialised boundaries and homogenisation within ethnicised echo chambers and provides a ‘window of opportunity’ for micro, meso and macro levels of actor engagement in facilitating offline mobilisation. Overall, this article provides a theoretical foundation for understanding how social media enables and enhances minority mobilisation and introduces novel empirical data on the emerging pro‐war movement prevalent on Telegram and in offline networks of the Russian‐speaking minority in Germany. The study contributes to the developing field of user‐generated nationalism and highlights the need for more bottom‐up research on emerging patterns of online ethnicised mobilisation.
  • Political liberalism and the metaphysics of languages

    Silva, Renan; Other (Taylor & Francis, 2023)
    Many political theorists believe that a state cannot be neutral when it comes to languages. Legislatures cannot avoid picking a language in which to conduct their business and teachers have to teach their pupils in a language. However, against that, some political liberals argue that liberal neutrality is consistent with the state endorsement of particular languages. Claims to the contrary, they say, are based on a misguided understanding of what neutrality is. I will argue that this line of argument fails, for two reasons. First, the primary challenge to which political liberals should respond is not that of reconciling the promotion of languages with liberal neutrality but, rather, that of reconciling liberal neutrality with the fact that reasonable people disagree about the existence and nature of languages. Second, even if everyone accepted the existence of languages along essentialist lines, one should still doubt the possibility of state neutrality with respect to them, regardless of the conception of neutrality one prefers. The reason why is that human beings cannot care about or value languages so when a state promotes a particular language, it is not supporting the preferences of its citizens but, rather, acting on perfectionist or simply irrational grounds.
  • Post-Neoliberalism and External Financial Liberalization: Comparing Left-Wing and Right-Wing Populism

    Da Silva, Pedro Perfeito; Department of Political Science (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
    This article aims to discuss to what extent populist parties with opposite ideological backgrounds have differed in their policies towards inherited external financial liberalization (EFL). Building upon a comparative case study centred on Argentina under Kirchnerism (2003–15) and Hungary under Viktor Orbán (since 2010), I conclude that both experiences led to a partial EFL reversal. However, reflecting their opposite ideological underpinnings, each subtype of populism opted to restrict a different dimension of EFL. Argentina's left-wing populism re-regulated cross-border capital flows, harming financial operators, foreign investors and primary exporters through capital controls and export surrenders. These interventionist capital account regulations were needed to shield expansionary macroeconomic policies that attended the interests of subordinate socioeconomic strata, fuelling the tension with financial markets and domestic economic elites. Conversely, Hungary's right-wing populism focused on the ownership structure of the banking sector, aiming to redistribute assets from foreign to domestic private banks and improve the credit conditions for native capitalists. In this case, even when resorting to macroeconomic heterodoxy, the maintenance of fiscal balance and price stability retained support from both foreign investors and domestic business groups, mitigating tensions derived from financial nationalism.
  • Democratic decline in the EU and its effect on democracy promotion in Central Asia

    Hönig, Anna-Lena; Tumenbaeva, Shirin; Department of Political Science (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
    We know surprisingly little about the impact of democratic decline in the EU on foreign policy and on democracy promotion efforts in particular. We examine qualitative and quantitative changes in aid allocation for democracy promotion alongside declining levels of democracy in the EU and its members. Focusing on decision-makers’ perspectives, we explain these changes with strategic and constructivist approaches. We analyse multilateral and bilateral aid flows from the EU and its members to Central Asia with data from OECD and IATI from 2000 to 2018. We identify quantitative changes in aid promoting democracy in Central Asia, which can be partially attributed to the donors’ increasing challenges for democracy at home. While the overall aid levels remained stable, we also identify qualitative shifts in allocation patterns favouring government institutions rather than civil society organisations. Our findings address the impact of democratic decline on foreign policy towards non-democratic states outside the European neighbourhood.
  • The reregulation of capital flows in Latin America: assessing the impact of post-neoliberal governments

    Da Silva, Pedro Perfeito; Department of Political Science (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
    This article assesses the impact of post-neoliberal governments on the level of capital controls in 17 Latin American countries for the period between 1995 and 2017. Contrary to administrations led by other left-of-center parties, especially the ones affiliated to the Socialist International, I contend that post-neoliberal parties, affiliated to the S~ao Paulo Forum, opted to reregulate capital flows for three main reasons: increasing macroeconomic policy autonomy, favoring their constituencies, and/or giving concreteness to the rhetoric against financial and foreign interests. After proposing a new capital controls index and estimating a time-series cross-section model, I find that post-neoliberalism has been associated with an increase in the level of controls. Besides this main conclusion, I also find that larger financial sectors contribute to counteracting the reregulation of capital flows by post-neoliberal governments.
  • The Political Economy of Intermediate Capital Account Regimes: a Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis

    Da Silva, Pedro Perfeito; Department of Political Science (Springer, 2022)
    Contrary to expectations, the global push for liberalizing reforms during the 1980s and 1990s did not abolish policy diversity in regard to capital flow management. Even though many countries fully opened their capital accounts, there remain several examples of divergence, which go from the maintenance of high levels of capital controls to partial liberalization. Against this background, relying on data from 84 countries between 1995 and 2017, this article uses fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to shed light on the conditions underlying different capital account regimes. In line with the Polanyian theoretical framework, findings reveal that two kinds of causal paths paved the way for intermediate regimes: the statist path was followed by right-leaning authoritarian regimes that attempted to combine the integration into global markets with the maintenance of control over the domestic private sector; the pluralist path was observed where either manufacturing industries or popular sectors were strong enough to motivate the reregulation of capital flows. Conversely, findings show that extreme regimes such as open and closed ones were associated with homogenous conditions like, respectively, leftist authoritarian regimes and rich democracies with stable economies.