ECPR Joint Sessions
University of Nicosia, Nicosia
10 - 14 April 2018

Technocrats in Cabinets: The Political and Policy Effects of Technocrat and Expert Ministers in Europe

Political Economy
Social Welfare
Policy Change
Despina Alexiadou
University of Strathclyde
Despina Alexiadou
University of Strathclyde

What are the political and policy effects of technocratic appointments in parliamentary cabinets? Using a new dataset on ministers in European parliamentary democracies over the last twenty-five years, we address this question. We find support for our hypothesis that technocrat ministers have real political and policy effects, especially during periods of economic crises: they are associated with more cuts in social welfare and with labour market liberalization than expert or partisan ministers. The findings provide support for the argument that ministers’ career concerns, and not just their expertise, matter for their policy-making performance.
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"Nothing in politics is ever as good or bad as it first appears" - Edward Boyle

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