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October 3, 2012 / Sian Moore

WERU/Greenwich wins ERC starting grant

The Effects of Marketization on Societies: The case of Europe (TEMS)

January 2013-December 2016

Prof Ian Greer (PI), Dr Lefteris Kretsos, and Dr Charles Umney

In the European Union and beyond, policymakers have come to use the market as a general-purpose policy tool. Dissatisfied with the existing institutions of capitalism, they have introduced price-based competition into new areas of life and ratcheted up competition where markets were already present. Although the recent financial crises have sparked protests and fueled criticisms of the capitalist system, policymakers are responding with public sector and welfare state reforms that, in fact, constitute an intensification of market relations in society.

This research project examines ‘marketization’: the introduction and intensification of price-based competition. Its aim is to develop, ground, and test a general theory of marketization. The main proposition that the team will assess is that marketization leads to an increase in inequality, in terms of income, security, and participation. The team will examine a number of mechanisms that could mediate this effect, located mainly in the workplace and the institutions of social protection.

We will collect data in four workplace contexts in four European countries and conduct a structured comparison of the sixteen qualitative cases. In case selection we seek variation in terms of the kind and degree of marketization, as well as the countervailing institutions of social protection that might mediate the hypothesized effect. At least one of the countries were we will conduct field research will be undergoing reforms as part of a financial bailout package.

This project also involves a program of theory development, which will include a workshop in which papers will be presented on particular theoretical and empirical issues from across the social sciences and a reader that will bring together these papers. This reader, as well as a book and articles presenting our findings, will be the main printed outputs of this project.

The research team will include the PI (Ian Greer) and two researchers already at Greenwich (Lefteris Kretsos and Charles Umney), and a post-doc and PhD student whom we will be recruiting.

TEMS is funded by the European Research Council, grant number StG-2012-313613.

We are currently recruiting for the four-year PhD researcher post.

For more information, please contact Ian Greer (i.greer@greenwich.ac.uk).  

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