Wassmann, Pia

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The Eurotower Strikes Back : Crises, Adjustments, and Europe's Austerity Protests

2016-06-01, Genovese, Federica, Schneider, Gerald, Wassmann, Pia

The 2008 global financial crisis came with fears—and, for some, hopes—that a new wave of public mobilization would emerge in industrialized countries. Especially throughout the European Union (EU), the epicenter of the crisis, large protests were expected. Yet, the energy with which social groups mobilized against the proposed austerity measures quickly fizzled. This article provides new evidence for why this was the case. In line with Neo-Keynesian theory, we argue that the interest rate adjustments and political announcements of the European Central Bank (ECB) limited the potential for mass unrest in the member states of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) affected by the crisis. We provide evidence for our argument with yearly panel data and a new original data set of monthly political protests between 2001 and 2013. Our analyses support the hypothesis that the ECB was able to successfully assuage dissatisfaction with the limited reform options of the Eurozone member states in the wake of the Eurocrisis.