Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research

By Fritz W. Scharpf | Go to book overview

hence not vulnerable to free riding. As soon as unemployment is allowed to rise, therefore, the overriding interest in protecting existing jobs will motivate wage concessions not only at the level of the union movement as a whole but also at lower levels of collective bargaining. 22 Under such conditions, there is no reason to assume that decentralized and fragmented union movements (which are otherwise characterized by greater militancy -- Cameron1984) should be any less "docile" than highly centralized and disciplined corporatist unions are said to be ( Panitch 1979). It is thus entirely plausible, within the model developed here, that neocorporatist institutions should explain a great deal of economic variance during the Keynesian 1970s -- and much less during the monetarist 1980s.


NOTES
1.
The story is summarized in Table A1.1.
2.
In this paper I concentrate on the explanation of macroeconomic policy, which affects unemployment through its impact on the number of jobs offered in the economy. This is of course not the whole "story" (which is presented more fully in my book, Scharpf 1987). Governments did resort to a variety of other strategies to prevent, reduce, or conceal the rise of unemployment ( Wilensky/ Turner 1987). Switzerland, for instance, relied almost entirely on the repatriation of foreign workers to compensate for very large job losses ( Schmidt 1985). Sweden, on the other hand, reduced potential unemployment by almost four percentage points between 1974 and 1978 through "active labor market" retraining and subsidized employment. West Germany combined both strategies with the early retirement of older workers to achieve a similar reduction of the labor supply ( Scharpf 1987, 279-293).
3.
In the monetarist environment of the 1980s, by contrast, wage restraint came to mean falling real wages or, at the least, reductions of real unit labor costs in order to increase the profitability of capital.
4.
After the onset of the second oil crisis in 1979, the United States, which before had facilitated worldwide expansionary strategies through its relatively loose fiscal and monetary policy, switched to a monetarist tight-money policy, which increased real long-term dollar interests from a low of -3 percent at the beginning of 1980 to an average of +6 percent in 1982 and a high of more than +8 percent in 1983. Given the paramount role of the U.S. dollar in the international capital markets, all other industrial countries were also forced to reduce their money supply and to raise their interest rates ( Funke 1986). As a further consequence, national fiscal policy also became less effective as an instrument of expansion (and much more expensive). In effect, therefore, most Western European countries pursued restrictive fiscal and monetary policies after 1981 -- and those that did not do so at first ( Mitterrand's France, for instance) were soon compelled to follow suit in order to avoid massive outflows of capital and a dramatic devaluation of their currencies.
5.
Wages contributed to accelerating inflation whenever the rise of unit labor costs (nominal wage increases minus gains in labor productivity) exceeded the current rate of inflation (Table A1.2).
6.
When the Social Democrats returned to power in Sweden in the fall of 1982, they achieved a limited degree of demand reflation through the competitive devaluation of the kronor -- a strategy that not all countries could have adopted.
7.
In their collective-bargaining role, one might include employers' associations as macroeconomic actors of marginal importance. Even though one may generally presume

-237-

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Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • 1 - Policy Research in the Face of Complexity 19
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Actor-Centered Institutionalism 36
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Actors 51
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Actor Constellations 69
  • Notes 93
  • 5 - Unilateral Action in Anarchic Fields and Minimal Institutions 97
  • Notes 114
  • 6 - Negotiated Agreements 116
  • Notes 147
  • 7 - Decisions by Majority Vote 151
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - Hierarchical Direction 171
  • Notes 193
  • 9 - Varieties of the Negotiating State 195
  • Notes 214
  • Appendix 1 - A Game-Theoretical Interpretation of Inflation and Unemployment in Western Europe 217
  • Notes 237
  • References 240
  • Appendix 2 - Efficient Self-Coordination in Policy Networks -- a Simulation Study 245
  • Notes 273
  • References 276
  • References 281
  • About the Book and Author 303
  • Index 305
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