The politics of economic adjustment: technocratic appointments and representation in economically advanced parliamentary democracies

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During the current debt crisis in Europe a number of unelected ministers and even prime- ministers have been appointed to government to resolve the economic crisis. Commentators argue that such appointments hurt democracy and are unlikely to succeed. However, appointments of un-elected technocrats are not unique to the current economic crisis. Nonetheless to this day, we have very little understanding of the economic and political impact of unelected ministers and prime-ministers. Does it make a difference for representation whether ministers and governments are technocratic instead of partisan? With a couple of notable exceptions, the discipline lacks systematic knowledge on the causes and effects of unelected technocrat ministers. When are technocrats more likely to be appointed and how do their appointments affect the government’s policy decision and, in turn, effective representation of the electorate? Using a new dataset on ministers in eighteen economically advanced democracies, I address this question by studying whether critical economic events predict technocratic appointments. The findings of this paper shed light to the complex interdependence of pre-electoral commitments, policy outputs and representation in parliamentary democracies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2013
Event3rd Annual General Conference Of The European Political Science Association - Parlament de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 20 Jun 201322 Jun 2013


Conference3rd Annual General Conference Of The European Political Science Association
Abbreviated titleEPSA 2013


  • European debt crisis
  • economic crisis
  • technocrats
  • partisan

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