Axel Cronert defends his thesis on 2 February


Axel Cronert defends his thesis "All Interventionists Now? On the Political Economy of Active Labor Market Policy as Micro-Interventionist Multi-Tools" on 2 February at 13:15 in Brusewitzsalen (Östra Ågatan 19).

Axel Cronert

The external reviewer is Jane Gingrich, University of Oxford, Magdalen College.
The examiner is Professor Torsten Svensson, Department of Government, Uppsala University. The other members of the examining committee are: Professor Mikael Gilljam, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg and Professor Eva Mörk, Department of Economics, Uppsala University.

All Interventionists Now? On the Political Economy of Active Labor Market Policy as Micro-Interventionist Multi-Tools

Axel Cronert

Comparative political economists often argue that governments’ capacity and propensity for discretionary intervention in the economy has been drastically reduced in recent decades in the advanced industrial democracies. Challenging that popular notion, Axel Cronert’s dissertation starts out by drawing attention to the long-term expansion of what he refers to as the micro-interventionist state—or the ’Swiss Army State’, as it were—among these countries. Distinctive of the policy instruments that belong to this family of economic policies is that they have the characteristics of multi-tools, in that they are versatile enough to be sustained and applied by policymakers from across the political spectrum, although for different purposes. As the main components of the micro-interventionist toolbox, he here specifically counts so-called horizontal industrial policy, active labor market policy, work-life balance policy, social tax expenditures, and strategic procurement.

The aim of three essays that form the bulk of the dissertation is to demonstrate the multi-tool nature of one of these components, namely, active labor market policy (ALMP), which typically refers to employment subsidies, labor market training, start-up incentives, and similar programs aimed at groups that experience difficulties in the labor market. Drawing mostly on a new and uniquely rich panel data set on approximately 1,000 ALMP programs across the EU-27, the essays reveal a great deal of variation across programs with respect to three politically salient design dimensions: their target groups, intended outcomes of participation, and modes of production. Focusing particularly on the disputed question about the relevance of the right–left political spectrum in this policy field, the essays demonstrate how different political actors systematically prioritize differently between programs that are designed to achieve different distributional outcomes.

These findings indicate that traditional partisan politics still matter for the design of economic policy in the advanced industrial democracies but that to understand how, scholars need to go beyond the question of how much the government intervenes in the economy and closely examine how these interventions are being aimed.

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Last modified: 2023-11-23