The New Politics of Austerity: Fiscal Responses to Crisis in Ireland and Spain

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This paper adopts a new analytical approach to explaining choices in fiscal politics in Ireland and Spain between 2008 and 2010, in response to international economic crisis. It adopts a comparative cross-national research design to explore why two countries with similar pre-crisis fiscal profiles
adopted radically different strategies in the initial phase of the crisis: Ireland adopted an orthodox deficit-reduction strategy, while Spain implemented a ‘heterodox’ stimulus fiscal package. Yet by mid-2010, Spain’s fiscal stance had converged with Ireland’s, as the wider European crisis deepened
and the scope for autonomous national policy choice narrowed. The paper tracks this shift in a second stage of the research design, examining within-country variation over time, to provide a nuanced and sophisticated analysis of strategic choices at critical moments. It argues that the shift toward a European politics of austerity is different in a number of important ways from the older
politics of fiscal consolidation, and that this has far-reaching implications not only for the evolution of European integration, but also for the balance between democratic politics and transnational markets.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Publication series

NameDiscussion Paper Series
PublisherUCD Geary Institute


  • new politics
  • austerity
  • fiscal responses
  • crisis
  • ireland
  • spain


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