Thomas Paster

Junior Fellow
Political Science and International Relations
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Berlin, Germany
Project Title: 
Business Interests and Economic Crises: Do Periods of Crisis Strengthen Corporate Power?
Project Abstract: 

This project explores the influence of business interest groups on government responses to economic crises. Why did business interest groups sometimes manage to assert their interests, but fail to assert their interests in other cases? The project focuses on government responses to historical and recent crises in three countries: Austria, Germany, and Sweden. While we might expect business interests to dominate in the formulation of crises response strategies, the data show substantial variation in the ability of business interest groups to get their way. The project investigates alternative explanations of variation in business influence, which draw on differences in economic structure, labor power, political institutions, and the way business interests are organized. My main working hypothesis focuses on perceptions of the causes of economic downturns. Where the behavior of business is seen as a cause of crisis, crisis will weaken business influence. Where crisis is seen as a product of excessive state regulation, crisis will strengthen it. Perceived causes of crises interact with institutions of social partnership to shape business influence.

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