Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2015

The Political Economy of Skills and Inequality in Western Welfare States

Lecturer: Professor Marius R. Busemeyer,
Department of Politics and Public Administration,
University of Konstanz, Germany

Main disciplines: Political Science,
Political Economy

Dates: 20 - 24 July 2015
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 25 participants


Objectives
This seminar provides a thorough introduction into the study of education policies and politics from the perspective of comparative welfare state research and comparative political economy. The class provides an overview of the most important debates in the field: the link between education and social inequality, the role of partisan politics, the connection between skill formation and different varieties of capitalism, the study of public opinion on education and the process of internationalization and Europeanization of education policy.

The first section of the course will focus on the relationship between education and the welfare state: To what extent can education be regarded as an integral component of encompassing welfare state regimes? What is the role of educational institutions in mitigating or exacerbating inequality? Do welfare states and education systems have common historical origins?

Starting from this very general overview, we will then focus on the role of partisan politics and the extent to which differences in the balance of power between different party families may explain differences in education policy output, both historically as well as in the contemporary period. In particular, we will address questions such as: Which different patterns of partisan competition over education policy can we observe? How do these patterns change over time? What are the positions of leftist, centrist and conservative parties on different aspects in education policy? Do they differ across countries?

The third section of the course will concentrate on the link between education and training policies on the one hand and different varieties of capitalism (VoC) on the other. The topic of skill formation occupies a central place in the VoC paradigm. How is skill formation related to the differentiation between liberal and coordinated market economies? What is “skill specificity” and how can we measure it? What are the implications of the “skill specificity” debate for the role of employers and unions in the welfare state?

In the fourth section of the class, we move from the macro level of policy-making to the micro-level of individual attitudes and preferences. In particular, we are interested in understanding how public opinion on education policy varies across countries as well as between different groups of individuals, how public opinion on education is different from other fields of the welfare state (public opinion on old age, unemployment and health care) and whether new political coalitions in support of the social investment approach focusing on education are emerging. Finally, we are also interested in how educational institutions shape patterns of political participation.

In the final section of the course, we study the process of internationalization and Europeanization. To what extent have international actors influenced the dynamics of education policy-making on the domestic level? What is the role of the European Union in the process of internationalization of education? What are the causal mechanisms driving convergence of education policies across European countries? The final session of the class draws the insights from the separate sessions together, providing students with a broad overview of the most relevant debates in the field.

 

Basic literature:

  • Busemeyer, Marius R., 2015. Skills and Inequality: Partisan Politics and the Political Economy of Education and Training Reforms in Western Welfare States, Cambridge University Press.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Nikolai, Rita, 2010. “Education”, in: Castles, Francis G. / Jane Lewis / Herbert Obinger / Chris Pierson / Stephan Leibfried (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook on Welfare State Policy, 2010. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press: 494-508.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Trampusch, Christine. 2011. Comparative Political Science and the Study of Education (Review Article), British Journal of Political Science, 41/2: 413-443.
  • Iversen, T./Stephens, J. D., 2008: Partisan politics, the welfare state, and three worlds of human capital formation, Comparative Political Studies 41(4-5): 600-637.

 

COURSE OUTLINE

Monday, July 20:

Lecture 1: Introduction and overview

Topics/questions:

- motivation: why study education?
- to what extent is the perspective of this class different from others?
- overview of the topics discussed in the course


Lecture 2: Education and the welfare state: Historical origins and contemporary patterns

Topics/questions:

- similarities in institutional set-up of education and training systems and welfare state regimes
- association between educational institutions and social as well as educational inequality
- historical development of education systems in selected country cases (US, Sweden, Germany, UK)

Literature:

  • Allmendinger, Jutta/Leibfried, Stephan, (2003). “Education and the Welfare State: Germany’s Poverty and Plenty in the Many Worlds of ‘Competence Distribution’ in the EC and the OECD,” Journal of European Social Policy 13/1: 63-81.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2015). Skills and Inequality: Partisan Politics and the Political Economy of Education and Training Reforms in Western Welfare States, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 4.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Nikolai, Rita, (2010). “Education”, in: Castles, Francis G. / Jane Lewis / Herbert Obinger / Chris Pierson / Stephan Leibfried (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook on Welfare State Policy, 2010. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press: 494-508.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Trampusch, Christine. (2011). “Comparative Political Science and the Study of Education” (Review Article), British Journal of Political Science, 41/2: 413-443.
  • Heidenheimer, Arnold, (1981). Education and Social Security Entitlements in Europe and America; in: Flora, P./Heidenheimer, A.J. (eds.): The Development of the Welfare State in Europe and America, New Brunswick, London: Transaction Books, pp. 269-304.


Tuesday, July 21:

Lecture 3: Partisan politics and education (I): Party positions and competition

Topics/questions:

- party positions on education in international comparison: convergence or divergence?
- change in party positions over time
- impact of institutional context on party positions


Lecture 4: Partisan politics and education (II): Policy output

Topics/questions:

- partisan preferences on education policy
- role of partisan politics with regard to policy output in education
- importance of partisan factors relative to other explanatory variables and changing impact over time

Literature:

  • Ansell, Ben, (2008). University Challenges: “Explaining Institutional Change in Higher Education”, World Politics 60/January 2008: 189-230.
  • Boix, Carles, (1997). “Political Parties and the Supply Side of the Economy: The Provision of Physical and Human Capital in Advanced Economies, 1960-1990,” American Journal of Political Science 41(3): 814-845.
  • Busemeyer, M. R., (2009): “Social democrats and the new partisan politics of public investment in education,” Journal of European Public Policy 16(1): 107-126.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2015). Skills and Inequality: Partisan Politics and the Political Economy of Education and Training Reforms in Western Welfare States, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 1.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Franzmann, Simon/Garritzmann, Julian, (2011). “Who owns education? Cleavage structures in the partisan competition over educational expansion,” West European Politics 36(3): 521-546.
  • Iversen, T./Stephens, J. D., (2008): “Partisan politics, the welfare state, and three worlds of human capital formation,” Comparative Political Studies 41(4-5): 600-637.
  • Jakobi, Anja P., (2011). “Political Parties and the Institutionalization of Education: A Comparative Analysis of Party Manifestos,” Comparative Education Review 55/2: 189-209.


Wednesday, July 22:

Lecture 5: Education and Varieties of Capitalism (I): Education, training and the labor market

Topics/questions:

- introduction/review of VoC perspective on skill formation: difference between general and specific skills systems, institutional complementarities between skill formation,
- industrial relations and coordinated wage bargaining
- history of vocational education and training and its connection to industrial relations in selected country cases


Lecture 6: Education and Varieties of Capitalism (II): Skill specificity and social policy

Topics/questions:

- what is skill specificity? How can we measure it?
- debate about link between skill specificity and social policy preferences
- implications for social inequality and welfare states

Literature:

  • Bosch, Gerhard, and Jean Charest, (2008). “Vocational Training and the Labour Market in Liberal and Coordinated Market Economies,” Industrial Relations Journal, 39 (2008), 428–47.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R. (2009). “Asset specificity, Institutional Complementarities and the Variety of Skill Regimes in Coordinated Market Economies,” Socio-Economic Review 7(3): 375-406.
  • Culpepper, Pepper D./Thelen, Kathleen, (2008). Institutions and Collective Actors in the Provision of Training: Historical and Cross-National Comparisons; in: Mayer, K.U./Solga, H. (eds.): Skill Formation: Interdisciplinary and Cross-National Perspectives, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21-49.
  • Emmenegger, Patrick. (2009). “Specificity versus Replaceability: The Relationship between Skills and Preferences for Job Security Regulations,” Socio-Economic Review 7(3): 407-430.
  • Estevez-Abe, M./Iversen, T./Soskice, D., (2001). Social protection and the formation of skills: A reinterpretation of the welfare state, in: Hall, P./Soskice, D. (Eds.): Varieties of Capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative institutional advantage, Oxford University Press, pp. 145-183.
  • Hall, Peter/Soskice, David, (2001). An Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism, in: Hall, P./Soskice, D. (Eds.): Varieties of Capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative institutional advantage, Oxford University Press, pp. 1-68.
  • Streeck, Wolfgang, (1992). On the Institutional Conditions of Diversified Quality Production; in: Streeck, W. / Matzner, E. (eds.): Beyond Keynesianism: The Socio-Economics of Production and Full Employment, Aldershot, Brookfield: Edward Elgar, pp. 21-61.


Thursday, July 23:

Lecture 7: Public opinion on education (I): Attitudes and preferences

Topics/questions:

- which factors determine public opinion on education policy on the individual level?
- to what extent is public opinion on education different from public opinion in other parts of the welfare state?


Lecture 8: Public opinion on education (II): Feedback effect from institutions to preferences

Topics/questions:

- how do national contexts shape patterns of public opinion?
- definition of negative and positive feedback effects, theories about which type will dominate under which conditions
- feedback of educational institutions on patterns of political participation

Literature:

  • Ansell, Ben W., (2010). From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 4, S. 119-163.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2012). “Inequality and the Political Economy of Education: An Analysis of Individual Preferences in OECD Countries,” Journal of European Social Policy, 22(3), 219-240.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2015). Skills and Inequality: Partisan Politics and the Political Economy of Education and Training Reforms in Western Welfare States, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 5.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra/Wolter, Stefan C., (2011): “Individual Policy Preferences for Vocational Versus Academic Education: Microlevel Evidence for the Case of Switzerland,” Journal of European Social Policy, 21/3: 253-273.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Goerres, Achim/Weschle, Simon, (2009). Attitudes towards Redistributive Spending in an Era of Demographic Ageing: The Rival Pressures from Age and Income in 14 OECD Countries, Journal of European Social Policy 19/3: 195-212.
  • Mettler, Suzanne/Welch, Eric, (2004). “Civic Generation: Policy Feedback Effects of the GI Bill on Political Involvement over the Life Course,” British Journal of Political Science, 34: 497-518.
  • Pierson, Paul, (1993). “When effect becomes cause: Policy feedback and political change.” World Politics 45(4): 595-628.

 

Friday, July 24:

Lecture 9: Internationalization and Europeanization of education

Topics/questions:

- effects of internationalization and Europeanization of education
- driving forces of internationalization: domestic politics or international level?
- causal mechanisms underlying convergence trend in education: problem-solving, competition, policy learning,…


Lecture 10. Concluding session

Topics/questions:

- summary of the main take-aways
- preview: future avenues for research

Literature:

  • Dobbins, Michael/Knill, Christoph, (2009). “Higher Education Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Convergence towards a Common model?” Governance 22(3): 397-430.
  • Leuze, Kathrin/Martens, Kerstin/Rusconi, Alessandra, (2007). New Arenas of Education Governance: The Impact of International Organizations and Markets on Education Policy Making. In: Martens, Kerstin/Rusconi, Alessandra/Leuze, Kathrin (Eds.): New Arenas of Education Governance: The Impact of International Organizations and Markets on Educational Policy Making. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3-15.
  • Vögtle, Eva-Maria/Knill, Christoph/Dobbins, Michael, (2011). “To what extent does transnational communication drive cross-national policy convergence? The impact of the Bologna-Process on Domestic Higher Education Policies,” Higher Education, 61: 77-94.
  • Heinze, Torben/Knill, Christoph, (2008). “Analysing the differential impact of the Bologna Process – theoretical considerations on national conditions for international policy convergence,” Higher Education, 56 (4): 493-510.
  • Walkenhorst, Heiko, (2008). “Explaining change in EU education policy.” Journal of European Public Policy, 15(4): 567-587.

 

COMPLETE READING LIST

  • Allmendinger, Jutta/Leibfried, Stephan, (2003). “Education and the Welfare State: Germany’s Poverty and Plenty in the Many Worlds of ‘Competence Distribution’ in the EC and the OECD,” Journal of European Social Policy 13/1: 63-81.
  • Ansell, Ben W., (2008). University Challenges: “Explaining Institutional Change in Higher Education”, World Politics 60/January 2008: 189-230.
  • Ansell, Ben W., (2010). From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 4, S. 119-163.
  • Boix, Carles, (1997). “Political Parties and the Supply Side of the Economy: The Provision of Physical and Human Capital in Advanced Economies, 1960-1990,” American Journal of Political Science 41(3): 814-845.
  • Bosch, Gerhard, and Jean Charest, (2008). “Vocational Training and the Labour Market in Liberal and Coordinated Market Economies,” Industrial Relations Journal, 39 (2008), 428–47.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R. (2009). “Asset specificity, Institutional Complementarities and the Variety of Skill Regimes in Coordinated Market Economies,” Socio-Economic Review 7(3): 375-406.
  • Busemeyer, M. R., (2009): “Social democrats and the new partisan politics of public investment in education,” Journal of European Public Policy 16(1): 107-126.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Goerres, Achim/Weschle, Simon, (2009). “Attitudes towards Redistributive Spending in an Era of Demographic Ageing: The Rival Pressures from Age and Income in 14 OECD Countries,” Journal of European Social Policy 19/3: 195-212.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Nikolai, Rita, (2010). “Education”, in: Castles, Francis G. / Jane Lewis / Herbert Obinger / Chris Pierson / Stephan Leibfried (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook on Welfare State Policy, 2010. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press: 494-508.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Trampusch, Christine. (2011). “Comparative Political Science and the Study of Education” (Review Article), British Journal of Political Science, 41/2: 413-443.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra/Wolter, Stefan C., (2011): “Individual Policy Preferences for Vocational Versus Academic Education: Microlevel Evidence for the Case of Switzerland,” Journal of European Social Policy, 21/3: 253-273.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R./Franzmann, Simon/Garritzmann, Julian, (2011). “Who owns education? Cleavage structures in the partisan competition over educational expansion,” West European Politics 36(3): 521-546.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2012). “Inequality and the Political Economy of Education: An Analysis of Individual Preferences in OECD Countries,” Journal of European Social Policy, 22(3), 219-240.
  • Busemeyer, Marius R., (2015). Skills and Inequality: Partisan Politics and the Political Economy of Education and Training Reforms in Western Welfare States, Cambridge University Press. Chapters 1, 4, 5.
  • Culpepper, Pepper D./Thelen, Kathleen, (2008). Institutions and Collective Actors in the Provision of Training: Historical and Cross-National Comparisons; in: Mayer, K.U./Solga, H. (eds.): Skill Formation: Interdisciplinary and Cross-National Perspectives, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21-49.
  • Dobbins, Michael/Knill, Christoph, (2009). “Higher Education Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Convergence towards a Common model?” Governance 22(3): 397-430.
  • Emmenegger, Patrick. (2009). “Specificity versus Replaceability: The Relationship between Skills and Preferences for Job Security Regulations,” Socio-Economic Review 7(3): 407-430.
  • Estevez-Abe, M./Iversen, T./Soskice, D., (2001). Social protection and the formation of skills: A reinterpretation of the welfare state, in: Hall, P./Soskice, D. (Eds.): Varieties of Capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative institutional advantage, Oxford University Press, pp. 145-183.
  • Hall, Peter/Soskice, David, (2001). An Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism, in: Hall, P./Soskice, D. (Eds.): Varieties of Capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative institutional advantage, Oxford University Press, pp. 1-68.
  • Heidenheimer, Arnold, (1981). Education and Social Security Entitlements in Europe and America; in: Flora, P./Heidenheimer, A.J. (eds.): The Development of the Welfare State in Europe and America, New Brunswick, London: Transaction Books, pp. 269-304.
  • Heinze, Torben/Knill, Christoph, (2008). “Analysing the differential impact of the Bologna Process – theoretical considerations on national conditions for international policy convergence,” Higher Education, 56 (4): 493-510.
  • Iversen, T./Stephens, J. D., (2008): “Partisan politics, the welfare state, and three worlds of human capital formation,” Comparative Political Studies 41(4-5): 600-637.
  • Jakobi, Anja P., (2011). “Political Parties and the Institutionalization of Education: A Comparative Analysis of Party Manifestos,” Comparative Education Review 55/2: 189-209.
  • Leuze, Kathrin/Martens, Kerstin/Rusconi, Alessandra, (2007). New Arenas of Education Governance: The Impact of International Organizations and Markets on Education Policy Making. In: Martens, Kerstin/Rusconi, Alessandra/Leuze, Kathrin (Eds.): New Arenas of Education Governance: The Impact of International Organizations and Markets on Educational Policy Making. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3-15.
  • Mettler, Suzanne/Welch, Eric, (2004). “Civic Generation: Policy Feedback Effects of the GI Bill on Political Involvement over the Life Course,” British Journal of Political Science, 34: 497-518.
  • Pierson, Paul, (1993). “When effect becomes cause: Policy feedback and political change.” World Politics 45(4): 595-628.
  • Streeck, Wolfgang, (1992). On the Institutional Conditions of Diversified Quality Production; in: Streeck, W. / Matzner, E. (eds.): Beyond Keynesianism: The Socio-Economics of Production and Full Employment, Aldershot, Brookfield: Edward Elgar, pp. 21-61.
  • Vögtle, Eva-Maria/Knill, Christoph/Dobbins, Michael, (2011). “To what extent does transnational communication drive cross-national policy convergence? The impact of the Bologna-Process on Domestic Higher Education Policies,” Higher Education, 61: 77-94.
  • Walkenhorst, Heiko, (2008). “Explaining change in EU education policy.” Journal of European Public Policy, 15(4): 567-587.


The lecturer
Marius R. Busemeyer is a Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany. His research focuses on comparative political economy and welfare state research, education and social policy, public spending, theories of institutional change and, more recently, public opinion on the welfare state. Busemeyer studied political science, economics, public administration and public law at University of Heidelberg and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Heidelberg. He worked as a senior researcher with Wolfgang Streeck and Kathleen Thelen at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne and was a post-doc visiting fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard before coming to Konstanz.

He received two major grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG)’s Emmy Noether program and the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant scheme. His publications include a forthcoming book on Skills and Inequality (Cambridge University Press), an edited volume (with Christine Trampusch) on The Political Economy of Collective Skill Formation (Oxford University Press), a recently edited special issue of the Socio-Economic Review on The political economy of skills and inequality (with Torben Iversen) and a large number of journal articles in leadings outlets of the discipline, such as the British Journal of Political Science, the Socio-Economic Review, the European Journal of Political Research, the Journal of European Social Policy, the Journal of European Public Policy and the British Journal of Industrial Relations.

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Published Nov. 7, 2014 10:25 AM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2017 1:10 PM