B03-Cologne Team (Summer 2018)  from left to right: Clara Baues, Ann-Katrin Schäfer, Sarah Berens, Franziska Deeg and Paul Beckmann

Mexico Project Part

We promote the argument that countries’ economic structural interdependence based on trade relationships influence individual preferences for social policy programs. When a central trading partner raises barriers in the form of increased tolls and tariffs it will increase the perception of labor market vulnerability and economic risk. Subsequently, increased risk perception should fuel different demands for different types of social policy reforms. Labor market segmentation into formal and informal workers thereby moderates the impact of risk. Our analysis contains two steps: the impact of changing trade relationships on individual economic risk perception, and, subsequently, the effect of risk on social policy preferences. To investigate the first part of the argument, we use a vignette experiment that primes individuals about hazards of changes in current trade relationships between Mexico and the U.S.. Next, we analyze how risk perception influences social policy preferences and how far different redistribution coalitions arise. As workers embedded in notoriously permeable labor markets not only frequently switch the sector of employment, but also share households with a spouse who works e. g. in the informal sector, social policy preferences cannot be simply derived from income level. Using a conjoint experiment that models the trade-off between different social policies and different degrees of scope, level, and who pays for it, allows to study the effect of increased risk perception and employment sector on policy preferences in a more nuanced way. We study our argument with an experimental survey for the case of Mexico in 2018. We just registered our Pre-Analysis Plan for our Mexico Project “The Wall and the Welfare State” on EGAP. The survey is now in the field in the Mexican states Puebla and Querétaro (Nov. 2018).


First results from the Mexico Survey

Moving North and Coming Back: How migration flows in the Americas shape social policy preferences

Authors: Sarah Berens and Franziska Deeg, UoC

The paper will be presented at the ISA RC19 annual meeting at University of Mannheim, 28-30 August 2019


Abstract: Benefits from globalization did not spread equally but economic interdependence has often caused inequalities and poverty. Migration is the response to such inequities. Rich and open economies are usually the migrant’s target, but middle-income countries experience various types of migration, such as waves of transients, emigration, refugees, but also returnees. We study the effects of such migration on social policy preferences, distinguishing two distinct streams of migration: (1) the inflow of refugees from Central America to Mexico and (2) Mexicans returning home from living in the United States. Since returnees and refugees vary in access to the formal and informal labor market and also in access to social policy programs, different types of migration flows should vary in “threat potential” for social policy demands and by socio-economic group, with the low-skilled and informally-employed responding more negatively to migration from Central America, whereas the high-skilled face greater competition from returnees. We test our argument with original survey data from Mexico collected in November 2018 during a high saliency period of migration. Findings reveal a robust negative effect throughout our battery of social policy preference questions for both, concerns about refugees and returnees. While it is the low-skilled who are opposed to social policy when concern about refugees is high, the pattern is reversed for concerns about US returnees, with high-skilled Mexicans showing strongest disagreement to increase social policy generosity when the concern about returnees is high. Disaggregating migration into particular types and conditioning the impact on skill, we provide a more nuanced analysis of the impact of migration on welfare preferences in developing countries that face both, refugees and returnees. Our findings show that migration affects differently skilled individuals in different ways and therefore, is likely to affect sensitive support coalitions for social policies.

Key words: Social policy preferences, Migration, Mexico, Globalization, Survey

Background of the project B03

In the subproject B03 of Collaborative Research Centre 1342 we investigate the complementary development of social policy in several states under conditions of intensified global economic interdependence. We focus on the relationship between transatlantic trade and social policy. We systematically investigate how the respective interests of voter groups and political parties arising from economic interdependencies translate into state policy according to political conflict and cooperation mechanisms and how they thus shape the specific institutional profile of the respective welfare states and political economies in the long term.

The subproject’s central research question is: To what extent has the horizontal economic interdependence between states in the Americas and Western Europe led to the formation of complementary welfare state regimes and political economies and which redistributive coalitions were behind these developments? Complementarity refers to differences in the institutional development of the political economies that are mutually interdependent. The central causal mechanism is the developing economic division of labour, which is politically reflected in different redistributive coalitions. The subproject will present these coalitions in a historical context with respect to political parties and in a contemporary context with respect to the electorate. The central topic of the subproject is: How, through the international division of labour, i.e. comparative cost advantages, do the institutions of the welfare state develop complementarily to each other – guided by political processes – and how do they mutually stabilize each other within their differences. We are thereby formulating a clear alternative explanation to that proposed, for example, by the convergence notion of modernization theory.

On the one hand, the subproject reconstructs the political and especially social and trade policy related reactions to crises in North America and Western Europe before the Second World War. Looking at the period after 1945, on the other hand the subproject expands its perspective to include the economic integration of South America and its industrialization strategy as well as current conflicts in trade policy. The investigation will focus on the interaction between – foreign trade-oriented – societal interest groups and their political mediation in the multiparty systems of Western Europe, the two-party system in the USA and the clientelistic presidential systems found in Latin America that all have different capacities to represent local versus “functional” interests. The aim of the subproject is to develop a concise theoretical framework that is compatible with the Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) approach and is valid for the reciprocally influencing formation of the West European, Latin American and North American welfare states. In doing so we can systematically extend an approach that previously focused on just Western Europe. Methodologically, we combine historical-comparative case studies, quantitative analyses at the macrolevel and survey data at the microlevel.


Principal investigators:

  • Prof. Dr. Philip Manow
  • Dr. Sarah Berens

PhD students:

  • Franziska Deeg (since June 2018), CCCP
  • Paul Beckmann (Aug-Nov 2018), CCCP
  • Martín Cortinae Escudero (since May 2018), University of Bremen

Student assistants:

  • Ann-Katrin Schäfer (June 2018 – Feb. 2019)
  • Clara Baues