Posted on 19 June 2020
The Department of Political and Social Sciences has awarded the 2020 Linz-Rokkan Prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation to Björn Bremer.
In his thesis Austerity from the left: explaining the fiscal policies of social democratic parties in response to the Great Recession, Bremer explores why social democrats did not opt for a Keynesian approach in tackling the impacts of the Great Recession. His work led him to break with prior research that argued social democratic governments chose austerity because of the pressure from financial markets, the EU and the IMF.
In his analysis, Bremer highlighted how austerity had been adopted by countries where such influences are weak. Instead, he argues that social democrats were influenced by the popularity of fiscal consolidation among both the electorate and mainstream economics at the time.
Bremer’s thesis was lauded for addressing an important policy question, given the fact austerity was a costly policy choice that also negatively impacted social democrats.
The jury praised Bremer’s work for the thorough and clear exposition of its arguments and the use of an ‘impressive array of research methods’.
Upon receiving the award, Bremer said he was grateful and honoured to have received the Linz-Rokkan prize. He said: ‘I share this honour with my colleagues, co-authors, and mentors. My research benefited tremendously from the constant support of my supervisor Hanspeter Kriesi and from the many interactions with friends and colleagues at the EUI. It has been a privilege to spend four years in this stimulating research environment, which enriched both my academic work and personal life.’
The Linz-Rokkan prize was instituted by the Department of Political and Social Sciences to honour late scholars Juan Linz and Stein Rokkan, two of the most eminent postwar political sociologists.
The prize is awarded to the best EUI doctoral dissertation in political sociology that addresses a topic pertinent to Linz and Rokkan’s research. The prize is sponsored by Professor Richard Rose, one of the founding fathers of postwar political science in Europe. Professor Rose holds a Honoris Causa Degree from the EUI and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.
Photo of Björn Bremer courtesy of MPIfG/Aydee