Conclusions: Reassessing the Framework

Sabina Avdagic, Martin Rhodes and Jelle Visser

in Social Pacts in Europe

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199590742
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728891 | DOI:
Conclusions: Reassessing the Framework

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This chapter assesses the book’s analytical framework. Regarding social pact emergence, overall the evidence supports our central argument that pacts emerge via political processes driven by interests and power, not because of the role of ideas, through social learning, or via spontaneous coordination in response to problem loads. In instances of both success and failure, power balances, utilitarian cost–benefit calculations—as well as, ultimately, some ‘shared perception’ or appreciation of the problems or challenges ahead—were critical in generating (or preventing) social pact responses. As for institutionalization, power-distributional mechanisms, often in combination with utilitarian concerns, are most frequently cited as explanation for both institutionalization and deinstitutionalization, and can trump functionalist pressures. Although we found that pacts sometimes produced cooperative norms, in no case were norms strong enough to determine institutionalization, or neutralize the effects of power shifts, severe economic setbacks, or dissatisfaction with outcomes.

Keywords: social pacts; emergence; interest; power; institutionalization; deinstitutionalization

Chapter.  13833 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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