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Social Science and Public Policy

Green Parties as New Left Party in Europe: Consequences for Distributive Policy-Making

March 24, 2022 at 12:30pm2:00pm

Virtual (See event details)

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This project investigates the relevance of the rise of Green parties for distributive politics in Europe. We study this question from both the supply and demand side of political competition, that is the distributive preferences of green voters and the impact of Green party government participation on distributive policy-making. The focus of our project goes beyond general welfare state support but centers on the content of distributive conflicts. We develop an argument about green voters’ welfare state preferences on the two dimensions which shape the politics of the welfare state in the 21st century. Focusing on the goals of welfare states, we consider the preferences of green voters for passive consumption versus active investment policies. Second, we consider the position of green voters in the debates about who gets access to the entitlements and benefits that the welfare state provides. To this end, we examine preferences towards two possible welfare state reforms, namely a welfare chauvinistic vision of the welfare state that grants protection and security mainly to the native population and the idea of a European welfare state where protection is equalized across Europe. We then turn to the supply side of political competition and study the impact that Green parties in governments have on distributive issues, neither on the spending nor the revenue side of distributive politics. We find that the inclusion of green parties in national governments leads to higher spending on social investment, while the status quo prevails regarding social consumption spending and taxation.

Co-researchers: Leonce Röth and Björn Bremer

Hanna Schwander is Full Professor and Chair of Political Sociology and Social Policy at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Located at the intersection between comparative politics, political sociology and political economy, her research is guided by her interest in how post-industrial transformations of welfare states, labour markets and societies affect various aspects of political life. She is also one of the PIs in the “Social Cohesion and Civil Society. Interaction Dynamics in Times of Disruption” project, sponsored by the Berlin University Alliance Grand Challenge. Prior to joining the Humboldt University, she was Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and a Senior Researcher with an Ambizione-Project on women’s political alignment at the Department of Political Science of the University of Zurich. She obtained her PhD in 2012 from the University of Zurich and joined the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) in Bremen in the same year. She also worked at the European University Institute in Florence, the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and the University of Essen-Duisburg.

This event was first published on March 9, 2022 and last updated on March 16, 2022.


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