When are policy makers willing to make costly adjustments to their macroeconomic policies to mitigate balance-of-payments problems? Which types of adjustment strategies do they choose? Under what circumstances do they delay reform, and when are such delays likely to result in financial crises? To answer these questions, this book examines how macroeconomic policy adjustments affect individual voters in financially open economies and argues that the anticipation of these distributional effects influences policy makers' decisions about the timing and the type of reform. Empirically, the book combines analyses of cross-national survey data of voters' and firms' policy evaluations with comparative case studies of national policy responses to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/8 and the recent Global Financial Crisis in Eastern Europe. The book shows that variation in policy makers' willingness to implement reform can be traced back to differences in the vulnerability profiles of their countries' electorates.
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This book explains why governments respond differently to macroeconomic problems and why necessary reforms are sometimes delayed until a serious financial crisis erupts. It argues that voter vulnerability to different reform strategies varies, and that these vulnerabilities influence the type and timing of governments' policy responses to economic crises. Empirical analyses at both the individual level across a broad range of countries and case studies of national policy responses to financial and economic crises in Asia and Eastern Europe support the argument.About the Author:
Stefanie Walter is Full Professor of International Relations and Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Zurich. She previously held positions as Fritz-Thyssen Fellow at Harvard University and as Junior Professor for International and Comparative Political Economy at the University of Heidelberg. Her research concentrates on the fields of international and comparative political economy, with a particular focus on how distributional conflicts, policy preferences, and institutions affect economic policy outcomes. Her work has been published in Economics and Politics, the European Journal of Political Research, International Organization, and International Studies. She received her PhD in Political Science from ETH Zurich.
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