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.
The Eurotower Strikes Back : Crises, Adjustments and Europe’s Austerity Strikes
2014, Genovese, Federica, Wassmann, Pia, Schneider, Gerald
The 2008 global financial crisis came with fears — and, for some, hopes — of a new wave of public mobilization in industrialized countries. Large protests were particularly expected in the epicenter of the crisis, the European Union (EU). Yet, the force with which social groups garnered their calls for strikes ebbed quickly away. This article provides new evidence for why this was the case. We claim that strikes, and particularly political strikes, are `bad weather' phenomena and crises exacerbate them. In monetary unions, where currency adjustments are difficult, fiscal changes are not supported by easing monetary measures and should unchain social unrest unless supranational actors get involved. We then argue that the political actions of the European Central Bank (ECB) have countered the potential for strikes in the Eurozone. We provide evidence for our theory with yearly panel data and a new original dataset of monthly strikes between 2001 and 2013. Our analyses support the thesis that the EU institution was successful at attenuating social indignation over the Eurocrisis and its political fallout.