9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN17 Industrial Relations, Labour Market Institutions and Employment

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Macroconcertation and Social Pacts Building AA, Auditório Silva Leal

Preconditions for Pacts on Income Policy: Bringing Strctures Back in. A Comparison of Western Europe, 1980-2003

The spread of social pacts has cast doubt on corporatist theory which assumes a close association between centralized structures of interest intermediation and policy concertation. As a consequence, the analytical focus of the debate has shifted to the relevance of processes for the emergence of pacts. This paper brings structures back into the debate. Its key thesis is that there is one certain bargaining structure which systematically provokes tripartite pacts on income policy: This is multi-employer bargaining whose pay policies are not coordinated by exposed-sector pattern setting. Along with other hypothesized factors, such as government partisanship, associational properties and the economic context, this thesis is tested on time-series data for 14 countries and the period from 1980 to 2003. Empirical findings confirm the pre-eminent role of the bargaining structure in the spread of pacts. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for the future of pacts.