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The structure of business preferences and Eurozone crisis policies

  • José Fernández Albertos and Alexander Kuo
Abstract

What explains business views regarding policy preferences in the Eurozone crisis? Although recent literature examines the impact of the crisis on citizen views, few studies examine business preferences towards adjustment policies. We present unique data from a new representative survey of 500 high-level firm representatives from Spain to test theories about such preferences, in particular views about the euro, fiscal austerity, and wage devaluation, as well as plausible mechanisms for such preferences. We test three broad families of theories to explain such preferences, focusing on the role of structural firm characteristics, economic hardship, and political leanings of firm managers. We find that first, there is a strong conservative position regarding all of these policies. Second, we find that contra conventional approaches to explaining preferences, for the domestic policies (but not for euro views), the political leanings of firms matter much more than baseline structural characteristics. Third, we find that surprisingly economic hardship does not cause firms to demand more left-wing policies, as it might for voters; in fact, firms that have suffered are likely to be more skeptical of such measures. These findings indicate the need to better measure political orientations of firm respondents and suggest that this is a larger division among firms than previously recognized.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Alexander Kuo, Associate Professor at DPIR and Tutorial Fellow at Christ Church, Department of Politics and International Relations, Manor Road Building, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom, Tel.: (+44) 1865 278700, email: alexander.kuo@politics.ox.ac.uk
José Fernández Albertos, Permanent Research Fellow, Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Albasanz, 26-28, Madrid 28037, Tel.: (+34) 916022356, email: j.f.albertos@csic.es
Footnotes
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We thank Silvia Bravo and the staff at Metroscopia for their assistance. This article has benefited from audience feedback at Columbia University, Colorado European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado Boulder, Cornell University, Georgetown University, the Hertie School of Government in Berlin, Juan March Institute in Madrid, London School of Economics and Political Science, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Rochester University, the University of Zurich, the International Political Economy Society meetings (IPES), European Political Science Association, Council for European Studies, and American Political Science Association. We thank William Clark, Aina Gallego, Xian Huang, Joseph Jupille, Pedro Magalhães, Yotam Margalit, Ioannis Vassiliadis, and Stefanie Walter for comments on earlier versions or sections of the article, and the three anonymous reviewers and the editors for their helpful suggestions.

The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: We thank the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness (Project CSO2013-48451-R), the Cornell Institute for Social Sciences, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, and the Cornell Institute for European Studies for financial support.

Footnotes
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