Evelyne Hübscher presents co-authored work at Max Planck Institut

January 14, 2021

SPP Associate Professor Evelyne Hübscher has been invited to the Max Planck Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung (MPIfG) to present co-authored work within a workshop on `The Politics of Macroeconomic Policies'. The paper, titled Voter Attitudes towards Fiscal Trade-offs: Evidence from Three European Countries argues that political opposition against fiscal adjustment has varied significantly across countries and over time. To account for this variation, the paper provides a unified analysis of voter attitudes that explicitly models two interrelated trade-offs in fiscal policy: first, between fiscal cuts and deficit-spending, and second, between different spending categories. The analysis of original survey data from three countries points to ideological cleavages across voters that one-dimensional analyses of fiscal policy cannot detect. The paper finds that in Germany, there is a relatively large agreement among partisan voters for both trade-offs, while in Spain, and particularly in the UK, there is fundamental disagreement. These findings are consistent with actual patterns of political contestation of fiscal policy in these countries. Variation in public attitudes, therefore, shapes the political feasibility of fiscal adjustments. This means that in austerity politics there is no one-size-fits-all in political terms because the political incentive constraint of governments varies with heterogeneous fiscal attitudes.

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