Global Capital, Political Institutions, and Policy Change in Developed Welfare States

By Duane Swank | Go to book overview

7
Assessing Long-Term Impacts: The Effect
of Globalization on Taxation, Institutions,
and Control of the Macroeconomy

Despite the evidence against conventional globalization theory generated in the preceding chapters, it may still be the case that increases in international capital mobility and financial integration contribute indirectly to rollbacks in social protection and otherwise constrain democratically elected governments from pursuing their social policy goals. Specifically, international capital mobility may contribute to the retrenchment of the welfare state through its impacts on the funding basis of the welfare state, the strength of political institutions that support the welfare state – most notably social corporatism – and the efficacy of macroeconomic policy to control unemployment and promote economic growth (and hence prevent fiscal stress that can lead to retrenchment). In the pages that follow, I go beyond my treatment of these issues in early sections of the volume and provide more detailed assessments of each argument. In the case of taxation, I provide a relatively developed analysis of the widely debated relationship between globalization and revenue raising by extending arguments I have offered elsewhere about internationalization and tax policy (Swank 1998) and by providing new evidence on international capital mobility's effects on tax burdens on capital, labor, and consumption, as well as on the tax share of GDP. In the case of the linkage between internationalization and social corporatism, I review the arguments, weigh the best recent evidence, and provide some new analysis. Finally, I provide a succinct assessment – relying on the best recent treatments of the topic, as well as analytic summaries of my case-study evidence – of the view that the decline in the efficacy of monetary, exchange rate, and related policies associated with rises in capital mobility forces governments, through a deterioration in economic performance (most notably, escalating

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