Past, Present and Future Challenges to Public Policy

(Lead researchers: CompstonDysonParsonsThornton)

Research focuses on climate change; the financial and economic crisis; labour-market change; and welfare policy change.

Compston’s current research project aims to identify political strategies that will enable governments to do more to limit emissions whilst avoiding significant political damage. Recent publications includeTurning Down the Heat (ed. with Ian Bailey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) which analyses political strategy and climate policy in affluent democracies; and Climate Change and Political Strategy (ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) which applies different theoretical perspectives to the problem of identifying better political strategies. The results are summarised in ‘The Politics of Climate Policy: Strategic Options for National Governments’, Political Quarterly 18(1), 2010.

Dyson’s recent work has been concerned with the nature and implications of the global financial and economic crisis, especially for the EU and for the Euro Area and their member states. He is currently writing a book on Creditor-Debtor State Diplomacy: ‘Saints’ and ‘Sinners’ in European History and Integration. The implications of the crisis feature prominently in the 2-volume OUP project (see above, with Quaglia). The results of ongoing work are summarized in two journal articles in 2010: ‘Was für eine Krise? Welche Krise? Wessen Krise?’ Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, October, and ‘Norman’s Lament’, New Political Economy, December.

Dyson has also been researching the role of differentiated integration in responding to policy challenges, asking to what extent, how and why the ‘deepening’ and the ‘widening’ of the EU generates differentiated forms of integration. Dyson led up a large international collaboration funded by the British Academy, published as Which Europe? The Politics of Differentiated Integration (ed. with Angelos Sepos, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). It includes theoretical contributions on the temporal, spatial and functional dimensions of differentiation.

Parsons has been investigating the effects of the European single market and EU enlargement on labour markets and employment. He has written on the consequences of the use of posted workers on national industrial relations systems and labour markets, including a briefing paper for the European Parliament. As well as this, his current focus of research activity is on ‘bossnappings’ in France as a reaction to the global economic and financial crisis.

Thornton works on the impacts of the UK Labour Party on Whitehall and welfare policies. He has recently published Richard Crossman and the Welfare State, Taurus 2009, and Demolishing Whitehall: Harold Wilson, Leslie Martin and the Architecture of White Heat, Ashgate 2011.