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Regimes, Politics, and MarketsDemocratization and Economic Change in Southern and Eastern Europe$
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José María Maravall

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198280835

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198280835.001.0001

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The Economic Identity of the Left

The Economic Identity of the Left

(p.126) 4 The Economic Identity of the Left
Regimes, Politics, and Markets


Oxford University Press

This chapter tries to look into the extent that the growing convergence of economic policies removed the differences between distinct political options. It explores whether the redistributive tendencies of the new democracies influenced leftwing governments, and how far social democracy was able to represent a political alternative with a distinctive identity. It tries to answer these questions by examining the programmes and policies of the Southern European socialist parties, and compares them with the experience of European social democracy. The chapter primarily focuses on the Spanish, French, and Greek cases. The chapter identifies the similarities and differences that existed between the policy preferences of the social democratic and non-socialist governments, and to compare them with those of conservative governments. It concludes that social democratic identity was typically expressed in different combinations of competitiveness and redistribution, economic efficiency and social equality. These were the politically significant aspects which distinguished social democratic policies from conservative ones. These differences affected the distribution of the social costs and benefits of policies, rather than macroeconomic management.

Keywords:   economic policies, leftwing government, programmes, policies, socialist parties, non-socialist governments, conservative governments

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