Health care cuts, reduced pension payments and negative interest rates: the euro crisis has placed a huge burden of adjustment on economic actors in euro zone crisis countries. In some EMU member states, this pressure has resulted in the implementation of substantial adjustment policies; in others, policy recommendations have been met by widespread opposition and been proven difficult to realize. Existing research tells us that this variance in implementation can be explained by the prevalence of special interest groups that impede the reform process in some crisis countries, but not in others. This context informs the main research question of this research project: when exactly do socio-economic interest groups oppose macroeconomic adjustment reforms and when do they favor policy recommendations put forth by the government?
The project looks in turn at how socio-economic interests assess a) policies of fiscal retrenchment and structural reforms as well as the preferences they have towards b) different types of transnational financing schemes and c) possible scenarios of Eurozone break-up.
Empirically, the project makes use of a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. More specifically, it employs a research design that combines original large-n survey data with data collected from semi-structured interviews across three country cases in the Eurozone periphery: Ireland, Spain and Greece. In addition to generating a comprehensive picture of the preferences of organized interest groups, the main research objective of the project is thus to trace the implications of these preferences on the nature of distributional politics within Eurozone crisis countries.