The Power of Inaction. Bank Bailouts in Comparison
by Cornelia Woll
Cornell University Press, April 2014
Bank bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the Great Recession brought into sharp relief the power that the global financial sector holds over national politics, and provoked widespread public outrage. In The Power of Inaction, Cornelia Woll details the varying relationships between financial institutions and national governments by comparing national bank rescue schemes in the United States and Europe. Woll starts with a broad overview of bank bailouts in more than twenty countries. Using extensive interviews conducted with bankers, lawmakers, and other key players, she then examines three pairs of countries where similar outcomes might be expected: the United States and United Kingdom, France and Germany, Ireland and Denmark. She finds, however, substantial variation within these pairs. In some cases the financial sector is intimately involved in the design of bailout packages; elsewhere it chooses to remain at arm’s length.
Such differences are often ascribed to one of two conditions: either the state is strong and can impose terms, or the state is weak and corrupted by industry lobbying. Woll presents a third option, where the inaction of the financial sector critically shapes the design of bailout packages in favor of the industry. She demonstrates that financial institutions were most powerful in those settings where they could avoid a joint response and force national policymakers to deal with banks on a piecemeal basis. The power to remain collectively inactive, she argues, has had important consequences for bailout arrangements and ultimately affected how the public and private sectors have shared the cost burden of these massive policy decisions.
One of the Reviews
« Cornelia Woll’s The Power of Inaction is a brilliant, deeply insightful analysis of the political economy of government responses to banking sector crises. Woll has synthesized myriad arguments across disciplines and narratives among nations to produce a unique approach to one of the central questions of our time. »—Rawi Abdelal, Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management, Harvard Business School.
Cornelia Woll is professor of political science at Sciences Po, where she co-directs MaxPo and LIEPP. Her research focuses on the international political economy and economic sociology, in particular regulatory issues, economic policy and finance in the European Union and the United States. A specialist on business-government relations, she is also the author of Firm Interests: How Governments Shape Business Lobbying on Global Trade (Cornell University Press, 2008). See her publications.
Denis Lacorne identifies two competing narratives defining the American identity. The first narrative, derived from the philosophy of the Enlightenment, is essentially secular. Associated with the Founding Fathers and reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, this line of reasoning is predicated on separating religion from politics to preserve political freedom from an overpowering church. Prominent thinkers such as Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and Jean-Nicolas Démeunier, who viewed the American project as a radical attempt to create a new regime free from religion and the weight of ancient history, embraced this American effort to establish a genuine “wall of separation” between church and state.
The second narrative is based on the premise that religion is a fundamental part of the American identity and emphasizes the importance of the original settlement of America by New England Puritans. This alternative vision was elaborated by Whig politicians and Romantic historians in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is still shared by modern political scientists such as Samuel Huntington. These thinkers insist America possesses a core, stable “Creed” mixing Protestant and republican values. Lacorne outlines the role of religion in the making of these narratives and examines, against this backdrop, how key historians, philosophers, novelists, and intellectuals situate religion in American politics.
More on Columbia University Press web site
Denis Lacorne is a senior research fellow with the CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po. A frequent commentator on American politics in the French press and on French television, his books include With Us or Against Us: Studies in Global Anti-Americanism and Language, Nation, and State: Identity Politics in a Multilingual Age, both with Tony Judt. Other publications.
The State of Environmental Migration 2013 – A review of 2012
by François Gemenne
; Pauline Brücker; Dina Ionesco
This volume is the third of an annual series, which aims to provide the reader with regularly-updated assessments on the changing nature and dynamics of environmental migration throughout the world. The idea for it stemmed from the course ‘Environment and Migration’, taught at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) of Sciences Po. The course, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the world, examines the complex relationship between environmental change and migration flows. The best of these papers have been selected and edited, and are presented in this volume. Most of them constitute the first detailed analyses of the migration flows that were induced by some of the most dramatic events of 2012, paving the way for future scholarly works.
Summary – Download the report
by Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier
Fernwood Publishing, October 2013
Consumers are often importuned to exercise responsibility in the market sphere and to consume with an eye to their obligations as citizens. They express their ideals directly through their purchases, participating in larger-scale protests: boycotting products from a large multinational corporation, buying “ethical” products, resisting advertising campaigns and supporting alternative forms of trade. Whether in the form of a small collective action or a mass movement, the capacity to put new environmental or ethical social issues on the political, economic or media agenda via the market is quite real. While most ethical consumption does not challenge capitalism or the very foundations of the market itself, it does raise issues and consciousness about social and environmental justice. In Ethical Consumption, Dubuisson-Quellier suggests that ethical consumption can create a consumerism that is not only a forum for expressing the needs and wants as the market has done in the past, but as a space for the construction of social responsibility. More on the publishing house website
Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier is head of research at Centre national de la recherche scientifique and works at the Centre of Organizational Sociology at Sciences Po (CSO). Her research is situated in the field of economic sociology, and her focus is on the social construction of consumers and markets. See all publications.
The G20: A New Geopolitical Order
by Karoline Postel-Vinay
CERI Series in International Relations and Political Economy
Palgrave Pivot, November 2013
The composition of the Group of Twenty or G20 reflects the metamorphosis of world politics. In contrast with other ‘Gs’ (G8, G77) its members are both developed and emerging economies, democracies and authoritarian regimes, secular and religious governments. This book argues that the G20 is neither a global executive board for a new world order, nor is it just a crisis unit for failing economies. It is a laboratory for the observation, experimentation and invention of new forms of international cooperation that are redefining global politics.More on Palgrave web site.
is director of research at the CERI. She specializes in International Relations and East Asian politics. Her previous book L’Occident et sa bonne parole analyzes the international scene and dominant geopolitical narratives from a non Western-centric perspective. See her publications.
QS has published its international ranking of universities, discipline by discipline. Among the 200 ranked universities, Sciences Po ranks among the best.
In Political Science and International relations, as in Sociology, Sciences Po is ranked 1st among French universities. In addition, Sciences Po is ranked 3rd in History, even though our department of History is of modest size in comparison to the two first French universities.
Internationally, Science Po ranked 16th in both political sciences and international relations, and 30th in sociology.
Developments in French Politics
Palgrave Macmillan, May 2013
Developments in French Politics 5 provides a systematic assessment of French politics following the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. Bringing together an entirely new set of specifically-commissioned, its central theme is whether the discourse of reform – initiated by Sarkozy – has been translated into tangible change.
Table of contents
1. From Sarkozy To Hollande: The New Normal?; Alistair Cole, Sophie Meunier, Vincent Tiberj
2. The French Presidency; Robert Elgie
3. The ‘New’ French Parliament: Changes And Continuities; Sylvain Brouard, Olivier Costa, Eric Kerrouche
4. Politics And Justice; Yves Surel
5. Local And Regional Governance; Alistair Cole And Romain Pasquier
6. Political Parties: The Ump And The Right; Florence Haegel
7. Political Parties: The Socialists And The Left; Frederic Sawicki
8. The Media; Raymond Kuhn
9. Interests And Collective Action; Arthur Goldhammer
10. Elections In France: Electoral Disorder In A Realignment Era; Florence Gougou, Simon Labouret
11. The Evolution Of Political Attitudes And Policy Preferences In France; James Stimson, Vincent Tiberj, Cyrille Thiebaut
12. France In Crisis? Economic And Welfare Policy Reform; Timothy B. Smith
13. Contested Citizenship In France: The Republican Politics Of Identity And Integration; Patrick Simon
14. France And The European Union; Helen Drake
15. France And The Global Economic Order; Sophie Meunier
16. French Foreign And Security Policy: In Search Of Coherence And Impact; Jolyon Howorth
Vincent Tiberj is Associate Research Professor FNSP since 2002, where he specialises in comparative electoral behaviour (France, United States and Europe), the political psychology of ordinary citizens, the sociology of inequalities, the politics of immigration and integration and survey research and methodology. He has been visiting scholar at Stanford University and Oxford University. He also co-ordinates the methodological curricula in the PhD program of Sciences Po. More about his publications.