Chapter

Ireland: Two Trajectories of Institutionalization

Rory O’Donnell, Maura Adshead and Damian Thomas

in Social Pacts in Europe

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199590742
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728891 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590742.003.0005
Ireland: Two Trajectories of Institutionalization

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Since 1987, the Irish government has entered into eight social pacts with interest organizations, establishing over two decades of negotiated economic and social governance. Ireland is a notable case of social pact development, first, because of its tradition of voluntarist and adversarial industrial relations, and because its political parties do not conform with the characteristics traditionally believed to be critical for pacting; and second, because while many European countries have deployed social pacts in response to economic difficulties, Ireland is distinctive for the duration of pacting in times of rapid growth and after the creation of the euro. Across and even within different policy areas, Ireland has created a mixture of four policymaking modes: centralized bureaucracy, corporatist political exchange, standard political decision-making, and some elements of ‘new governance’. Social pacts have been one important factor in the evolution of this complex, highly imperfect, and contested system of public governance.

Keywords: social pacts; Ireland; interest organizations; civil society; public governance; neo-corporatist theory

Chapter.  12425 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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