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61 Working Paper

"Maastricht the Social Protocol: The Perspective of the Citizen. A Comparison of Class-Conflict Cross-Class Alliance Models"

1995 – Maurits van der Veen

Abstract

Increasingly in EC scholarship, "cross-class alliance" models tend to supplant traditional "class-conflict" models. Proponents of the cross-class alliance approach argue that negotiations over Community-Wide social policy will divide Europeans not between workers and employers, but rather between producers (workers and employers) in poor countries and those in rich countries. Which of these models gives us more purchase on understanding the dynamics of social policy is important not just within the EC; it also has implications for how we think about incentive structures and political cleavages at the broadest level.While both the class-conflict and cross-class alliance models focus their actions on peak-level bargaining-such as among and between union leaders, business leaders, and national negotiators-it IS illuminating to view the preferences of average EC citizens in light of these social models. We examine whether the logic of preferences adduced by the class-conflict and cross-class alliance models is reflected in the attitudes of European citizens toward the Social Protocol of the Maastricht accord. In order to compare the models directly, we focus on the attitudes of the societal groups for which the two models suggest different preferences.Examining the attitudes of European citizens toward the Social Protocol of the Maastricht Treaty in light of the class-conflict and cross-class alliance models yields two findings. First, we find that the cross-class alliance model performs better in helping us to understand the relative preferences of those people for whom the two models make divergent predictions. Second, we show that, the first finding notwithstanding, neither model correctly predicts the attitudes of societal groups for which the models make convergent predictions, casting doubt on the leverage either model provides for understanding preferences at the individual level.

 
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