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World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda


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Switzerland’s Political Performance Compared: Determinants of a Success Story

Manfred G. Schmidt
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  • Institute of Political Science, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straße 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
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Published Online: 2015-08-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2015-0006

Abstract

In comparisons of OECD member countries, Switzerland receives top marks on central indicators of political performance such as the rate of unemployment, the inflation rate and general government net debt interest payment. Focusing on the period from 1990 to 2012, this essay examines the sources and causes of this success story, drawing not only on hypotheses and data that are specific to Switzerland but also on explanatory approaches that compare Switzerland to other wealthy democracies. Of the several key items involved – including the institutional, procedural and actor-related characteristics of Switzerland – the variables that have proven to be most important are those contributing to policy area-specific explanations (such as central bank autonomy, distributional conflict and fragmentation of fiscal policy), as well as indicators of social partnership in industrial relations and the distribution of power between political parties.

Keywords: central bank autonomy; consensus democracy; direct democracy; distributive struggles; partisan theory of public policy; public debt; rate of inflation; rate of unemployment; Switzerland’s success story

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About the article

Corresponding author: Prof. Manfred G. Schmidt, Professor, Institute of Political Science, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straße 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany, Phone: +49 6221 54 34 11, e-mail:

Translated by Deanna Stewart.


Published Online: 2015-08-21

Published in Print: 2015-10-01


Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 11, Issue 2, Pages 187–203, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2015-0006.

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