Institute of Political Science

Liberalization. A Proposal for the Creation of an International Database

Project leaders

Klaus Armingeon

Lucio Baccaro (University of Geneva)

Project collaborators

Rafael Labanino

Anna Fill

Stefan Heeb

Jorge Galindo


2012 - 2015


During the past 30 years the economies of the OECD and EU countries have been liberalized to a remarkable degree. Liberalization denotes the removal or loosening of restrictions on free markets. This projectst focuses on liberalization policies in the fields of labour markets, product markets, collective labour relations, public sector size and privatisation, tax policies, welfare states and education. We propose to create a data base that helps to answer three major questions: What are the conditions under which liberalising reforms are enacted? What are the conditions under which liberalising reforms achieve beneficial economic goals? What are the electoral consequences of liberalising reforms?

While there is a large amount of textual information on reforms in different policy fields and some data sets for select policy fields, there is not an encompassing data base that covers various policy fields at the same time and that includes information about reforms. Hence the major task of this project is the creation of a data base about liberalizing reforms between 1980 and 2012 in the democracies of the European Union (including Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) and in the other old and established democracies of the OECD. In addition to compiling the data base, which promises to be
an important tool for researchers in comparative political economy throughout the world, we plan to use it to initiate a number of analyses on the causes, socioeconomic effects and electoral consequences of liberalizing reforms.

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