Pitzer College Professor Nigel Boyle to Speak at Western Political Science Association Conference

Nigel Boyle
Nigel Boyle

Claremont, Calif. (March 28, 2013)—Pitzer College Professor of Political Studies Nigel Boyle will deliver his paper, “Social Partnership and Austerity Shocks in Open Economies: Why Were Social Pacts Institutionalized in Ireland but not Korea?” at the Western Political Science Association Conference in Los Angeles on Friday, March 29. Boyle co-wrote the paper with Professor of Political Science Chonghee Han from Kangwoon University in South Korea.

Boyle, who is the founding director of the Institute for Global/Local Action and Study (IGLAS), compares the social pacts that developed between the state, labor and business sectors in the wake of economic austerity programs in Ireland and Korea, two highly open economies that are heavily dependent on trade and the international market. Both countries suffered severe financial crises—Ireland in 1987 and Korea in 1997—then underwent extreme “austerity shocks” after their governments took measures to cut expenditures and shrink national deficits. “Compensatory political exchanges” subsequently developed in Ireland and Korea. These exchanges involve stakeholders striking certain bargains and accepting certain trade-offs—for example, unions agreeing to modest wage hikes in return for better social benefits, business conceding control over apprenticeships in return for lower wage costs, or the state conceding control over public policy to unions and business in return for economic competitiveness. Boyle’s paper examines the durability of this new type of social partnership, comparing the Irish case, where social partnership was institutionalized, with the Korean case, where it was not. Boyle and Han conclude that the ability of social partnership to become institutionalized is dependent on supportive prior political relationships between organized labor and the state.

Founded in 1948, the Western Political Science Association is an association of more than 1,350 political scientists that promotes the study and teaching of government and politics, fosters research and facilitates the discussion of public affairs.

An Irish citizen, Boyle is also Pitzer’s associate dean for global/local programs and the IGLAS chair in political studies. His research interests include comparative politics, labor market and social policy and the politics of world soccer.

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