Deficit Reduction and Continuity of Public Services

Topihousec

The research examines the impact of fast- and slow-burning crises on public service provision in the EU. It will evaluate the economic and social effectiveness as well as the political legitimacy of the new system of public service provision generated by the crises. While the general trends of public service restructuring before and during the financial crisis are partly known, there is little systematic research that would address the emerging multilevel governance of public services, its differential impact on core and peripheral EU member states, as well as countries within and outside of the Eurozone, and the concrete links between public services and political legitimacy have not yet been well understood. The literature on welfare states and social policy has more often than not overlooked the services aspect of welfare state re-structuring. When dealing with welfare services, scholars have either focused on long-term reform trajectory prior to the financial crisis or on its immediate effects. Five years after the implementation of the first austerity plans and the inception of the European Semester, there is a need to combine both perspectives. The research will therefore deepen knowledge of these issues through a systematic cross-country and cross-sectoral comparison and this way enable stakeholders to design more forward looking policies that are able to generate efficient and legitimate public services in times of crisis. The research will investigate which governance arrangements and policies have pertained to public services reforms over the past decade across the EU multi-level polity; what types of stakeholders have been involved; how can these arrangements, and the policies which they have brought about, be assessed with regard to input legitimacy (addressing participation and citizens’ demands), throughput legitimacy (in terms of governance and procedures) and output legitimacy (policy efficiency). A cross-sector and cross-country comparative analysis will be conducted with case studies focusing on healthcare and social housing, two sectors which have been at the core the fast and slow-burning crises and which are crucial with regard to welfare and legitimacy.

For non-academic partners, it is the occasion to enrich their analysis of the impact of the crisis in their own policy sector and intensify their dialogue with the academic world. It is also the opportunity to back their advocacy work by highlighting obstacles to better crisis management.

People involved

CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY (CEU)

COPENHAGEN BUSINESS SCHOOL (CBS)

UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES (ULB)

HOUSING EUROPE (CECODHAS)

Key products

  • Think piece on the comparative framework guiding the research
  • Think piece on Housing and Health in Fast- and Slow-Burning Crises
  • Working paper Assessing the public service restructuring in Hungary and Spain
  • Working paper Assessing the public service restructuring in the UK and France
  • Article Comparing public service restructuring in European countries
  • Contribution to the common edited volume on Legitimacy of public sector restructuring

Key events

  • Workshop on “Analysing Public Service” (February 2016)
  • Scientific Workshop on “Comparing Public Service Restructuring” (January 2017)