The Political Economy of the European Periphery

This project is funded by a Research Collaboration Grant from the Irish Research Council. 

The Eurozone economic crisis affected Ireland, Portugal, Greece, and Spain particularly severely. All were ‘peripheral’ economies in the 1970s and 1980s, in the sense of being late industrializers with a late transition from agriculture-based economies. Cohesion Funds helped facilitate their convergence with the EU average. But access to cheap credit during the 2000s caused divergence once again, since these countries had neither the institutional nor the infrastructural resources to counter the unanticipated consequences of European Monetary Union. They were all therefore highly exposed when the international crisis broke in 2008. 

This international collaborative project analyses patterns of domestic adaptation to the pressures of European economic, political and monetary integration. The central focus is on politics as the mediator of economic pressures and incentives, showing how the same pressures resulted in different political responses and therefore different pathways to crisis. The project uses cross-country comparative method, and within-country variation over time.

Contact Niamh Hardiman

A co-authored book, The Political Economy of the European Periphery, will be published by Oxford University Press.

The authors are Niamh Hardiman (UCD), Spyros Blavoukos (AUEB, Athens), Sebastian Dellepiane (U. Strathclyde, Glasgow), George Pagoulatos (AUEB, Athens).

Research assistance was provided during 2012/3 by Jon Las Heras.

A conference presenting some of the findings of the project will be held in Newman House on Tuesday 3 December 2013.


Niamh Hardiman

Niamh Hardiman teaches in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. She has taught in Oxford University, where she was Fellow and Tutor in Politics for a number of years. Her research interests centre on issues relating to the policy capacity of states, both from a political economy perspective, and from an institutional and organizational perspective. She has written extensively about Irish politics in comparative perspective.

Spyros Blavoukos

Spyros Blavoukos is Associate Professor at the Department of International and European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. His work centres on analysis of international and European institutions and their interaction with domestic politics. He has published extensively in international journals on these topics.

Sebastián Dellepiane Avellaneda

Sebastian Dellepiane teaches in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde. He has taught at the Universities of Antwerp, Essex, and Maastricht, and at UCD. Among his research interests are the political economy of growth and development, and the politics of economic policy, interests that developed out of his original engagement with the politics of credible commitment during the crisis in Argentina.

George Pagoulatos

George Pagoulatos is Professor of European Politics and Economy at the Department of International and European Economic Studies, Athens University of Economics and Business. In 2011-2012 he was Senior Advisor and Director of Strategy to the Prime Ministers Lucas Papademos and Panayiotis Pikrammenos. He has extensive experience in providing policy advice as well as scholarly analysis concerning the Greek political economy.

Sebastia?n Dellepiane Avellaneda (University of Strathclyde), Niamh Hardiman (UCD SPIRe), George Pagoulatos AUEB), Jon Las Heras (PhD candidade, U.Manchester), Spyros Blavoukos (AUEB)

Working Papers

Dellepiane, Hardiman, The politics of fiscal effort in Spain and Ireland: Market credibility versus political legitimacy


Dellepiane, Hardiman, Las Heras, Building on easy money: the political economy of housing bubbles in Ireland and Spain


Hardiman, Rethinking the political economy of fiscal consolidation in two recessions in Ireland


Brazys and Hardiman, From Tiger to PIIGS: Ireland and the use of heuristics in comparative political economy


Hardiman and MacCarthaigh, How governments retrench in crisis: the case of Ireland


Dellepiane and Hardiman, Fiscal politics in time: pathways to fiscal consolidation in Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Britain, 1980-2012


Dellepiane and Hardiman, The new politics of austerity: fiscal responses to crisis in Ireland and Spain


Clarke and Hardiman, Crisis in the Irish banking system


Dellepiane and Hardiman, Governing the Irish economy: a triple crisis


Hardiman, Bringing domestic political institutions back into understanding Ireland's crisis


Hardiman, Economic crisis and public sector reform: lessons from Ireland


Dellepiane and Hardiman, European economic crisis: Ireland in comparative perspective