The recent financial crisis created cascading economic problems not only in the United States but throughout much of the world. Although the economic problems in each country are closely tied to each other, the response to the crisis and the impact on individual countries has varied greatly. Larry Bartels (Princeton University), Nancy Bermeo (University of Oxford), and Jonas Pontusson (University of Geneva), will organize a conference and edit a volume on policy responses to the economic crisis in advanced industrial states. The authors will examine the similarities and differences in the impacts of the crisis and the responses that have already been put in place, and they will use these differences as a lens through which to shed new light on the workings of democratic politics, including the formation of public opinion, the causes and consequences of economic inequality, and the various party systems, social institutions, and economic systems that impact policy making.
An extensive research literature addresses the variety of institutional arrangements across countries that might have led to differences in the impact of the financial crisis. For instance, variances in the structure of corporate finance may lead to different levels of exposure to turbulence in the financial sector; differences in participation in trade and the importance of manufacturing can shape the politics of economic policy; and the political influence of organized interests or the partisan composition of governments might impact how government is able to respond to economic crisis. The authors will look to these models to help analyze reactions to the recession; they will also go beyond these models to examine the role of public opinion and the timing of elections, levels of inequality, and conflict between financial and industrial interests in shaping the impact of and response to the financial crisis. In addition, they will look at how policy responses to the crisis shape the distribution of income and inequality.