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Selling Austerity: Preferences for Fiscal Adjustment during the Eurozone Crisis

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What explains individual preferences for austerity during the eurozone crisis? To what extent are such preferences affected by the specific content of austerity policies or EU-related factors? To address these questions, we present new data and embedded experiments that test theories of austerity preferences, from a survey of a crisis-hit country, Spain. We find little support for austerity as conventionally measured, but such support can increase if specific reasons or benefits are made salient. The endorsement by the EU has no effect on austerity support, but support for spending wanes when tax increases and concerns about fiscal commitments to the EU are made salient. The results help understand how unpopular policies such as austerity might be sometimes palatable to large segments of the general public.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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