Ideology and Policy Preferences: The "Isms" and Crisis Response in Europe

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Room J10 (J355) (University of Glasgow)
Travis Joseph Nelson , Department of Political Science, University of Washington
In response to the European sovereign debt crisis there has been a widespread circulation of ideas and beliefs relating to what was the underlying cause of the crisis. These beliefs range from a lack of competent and meaningful regulatory oversight leading to government profligacy to arguments revolving around questions of competitiveness and relative wage inflation. This paper argues that the beliefs surrounding the crisis in popular media stem not from a functional or interest based assessment of the situation but from the underlying ideology held by the public writ large. This is not to say that the public is a monolith with one belief system, but that beliefs tend to be pervasive and widely held. Specifically, this paper explores the prevalence of neo-liberal ideology within great Britain, ordo-liberalism within Germany, and market socialism in Greece; it is these beliefs that shape how people understand and thus respond to crises. This paper uses text data to demonstrate the competing ideologies surrounding the crisis and puts forth a more nuanced argument: beliefs about crises affects how crises are responded to.