Policy Design and Domestic Support for International Bailouts

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Authors Michael M. Bechtel, Jens Hainmueller, Yotam Margalit
Journal/Conference Name EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL RESEARCH
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Financial bailouts for ailing Eurozone countries face deep and widespread opposition among voters in donor countries, casting major doubts over the political feasibility of further assistance efforts. What is the nature of the opposition and under what conditions can governments obtain broader political support for funding such large-scale, international transfers? This question is addressed by distinguishing theoretically between ‘fundamental’ and ‘contingent’ attitudes. Whereas the former entail complete rejection or embrace of a policy, the latter depend on the specific features of the policy and could shift if those features are altered. Combining unique data from an original survey in Germany – the largest donor country – together with an experiment that varies salient policy dimensions, the analysis indicates that less than a quarter of the public exhibits fundamental opposition to the bailouts. Testing a set of theories on contingent attitudes, particular sensitivity is found to the burden-sharing and cost dimensions of the bailouts. The results imply that the choice of specific features of a rescue package has important consequences for building domestic support for international assistance efforts.
Date of publication 2012
Code Programming Language R
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