I have a paper just published in ‘Comparative Politics’. Get your ‘official’ copy via IngentaConnect or your ‘unofficial’ copy via SSRN.
Here’s the abstract:
Why did a highly redistributive, nationalized health care system emerge in the UK, where the Left was comparatively weak, while a more redistributively neutral, cash-centric, insurance-based system was pursued in Sweden, where the Left was strong? The explanation is two fold. First, in contrast to the Swedish Social Democrats, the weakness of the British Labour Party constrained it to pursue redistribution via health policy. Second, given the redistributive goals of the National Health Service, it became imperative for the Labour Party to construct a system that would be difficult for future Conservative governments to retrench. More generally, this formulation posits rational actors operating in the kinds of processes typically studied by historical institutionalists. The result is a tendency for a type of path dependence by design.
For those in my PO4730 class pondering what to write their op-ed assignment on, here are a few pieces that you might find inspiration from. The idea is to respond as a social scientist, of course.
We were discussing the causes of ‘market inequality’ in class today. Amongst other things, we discussed the importance of skill-biased technological change. This led some people to wonder what the comparative data looks like on higher education enrolment across countries. If there is rising demand for skilled workers, have some countries been better at meeting this demand than others?
I wondered, and so went to the Eurostat web site. From the ‘Population and social conditions’ theme, I got hold of what seems like a reasonable proxy for university enrolment figures from the ‘Education and training’ section, and then figures for the number of people in the 20-24 age cohort for each country. Taking the ratio of the two, multiplied by 100, I then calculate an (approximate) enrolment rate for each country.
Without further comment on the reliability of the calculations or what the appropriate inferences are, I offer, below, the plots for these data for the countries that seem to be of most direct interest for the class. (No population data available for the USA from Eurostat, I’m afraid. I’m sure it’s available elsewhere, but I’m not going to look for it.)
If you would like to look at the original data and/or see the Stata code that merges it and then generates the plot, try the following: pop2024.csv, unienrol.csv, and highereducation.do.
Last week was “Red State, Blue State” (“What’s the Matter with Kansas?” week in The Politics of Inequality class. Here are a few readings/listenings that bring things up to the present day:
(Hat tip to Mark Pack at Lib Dem Voice.)
My ‘Politics of Inequality’ (PO4730) class has been talking about a variety of things in the past five weeks that have found recent expression on the web.
The Economist have a special report this week on inequality, entitled “True Progressivism“. They argue that, “A new form of radical centrist politics is needed to tackle inequality without hurting economic growth”. There’s also a podcast of a discussion with the author. Maybe interesting for PO4730 students.
I am experimenting with maintaining a page on Employment Ideas for Trinity Politics Graduates. The idea is that it may be helpful for both undergraduate and graduate students. Suggestions are welcome.
Disclaimer: I’m not in any way vouching for any of these organisations, or suggesting that they have vacancies, let alone that they will hire you.
I have a post up on the Oxford/Cambridge Politics In Spires group blog where I propose a way of reforming the House of Lords.
In brief, the idea is that abstentions should count as ‘votes’ for an Appointments Commission list. The result, I think, would be a chamber that was directly elected, broadly representative, deliberative and populated with ‘experts’, as well as clearly subordinate to the House of Commons. What’s not to like?
See Getting the House in Order: brainstorming a novel approach to Lords reform for more details.
I now have a related post on this at LibDemVoice. Commenters seem opposed, but not for good reasons.
In case the library is getting you down but you still want to think about the politics of inequality, some podcasts:
- BBC Analysis programme on “Profits before pay” (mp3 from 20 February 12). Includes discussions of inequality trends and their economic and political causes.
- BBC Analysis programme on “Capitalists against the Super Rich” (mp3 from 23 January 12). Includes discussions of political responses to the financial crisis and inequality.
- BBC Analysis programme on “Neue Labour” (mp3 from 2 March 12). Includes discussion of how different patterns of training and employment have implications for inequality and industry.
- There are actually lots of interesting BBC Analysis programmes.
- This American Life episode 459 on “What Kind of Country?“. Includes interesting story on a Colorado town’s refusal to pay (more) taxes.