The Comparative Politics of Liberalism: Ideas and Institutions in Post-War European Economic Adjustment


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


Political Science


For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2012-2013


This project investigates how national liberal traditions have shaped economic adjustment in post-World-War-II Western Europe. It focuses on France, Germany, and Italy—three countries not normally thought of as “liberal” by Anglo-American observers. Yet in all three, national variants of economic liberalism have acted in powerful ways to shape patterns of economic adjustment to an enduring climate of austerity, punctuated by crises in the 1970s, 1990s, and late 2000s. The study investigates the relationship between liberal traditions and economic adjustment through the lens of long-term trajectories in fiscal and labor-market policy, two areas central to debates about the role of the state and its relationship to the market in modern capitalist economies.