Working paper

Globalisation and automation as sources of labour-market competition, and support for European Union unemployment insurance

Publishing date
17 July 2023
Employment office

Executive summary

Societies and economies are experiencing deep and intertwined structural changes that may unsettle the perceptions European citizens have of their economic and employment security. Such labour-market perceptions are likely in turn to alter people’s political positions. For instance, those worried by labour-market competition may prefer greater social protection to compensate for the accrued risk, or might prefer more closed economies where external borders provide protection (or the illusion of protection). We test these expectations with a conjoint experiment in 13 European countries on European-level social policy, studying how citizens’ demands align with parties’ political supply. Results broadly corroborate our expectations on the moderating effects of different types of concerns about perceived sources of labour-market competition on the features of preferred European-level social policy.

About the authors

  • Brian Burgoon

    Brian Burgoon is Professor of International and Comparative Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He received his PhD from MIT in 1998, and between 1998 to 2000 was Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He joined the UvA faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2000, was appointed Professor in 2012, and served as Academic Director of the UvA's Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)  from 2014 till December 2020.  

    Burgoon's research focuses on global economic integration; social policy and welfare state development; and democratic political representation. The key goal of that research is to understand how the politics of these realms relate to each other, and in particular whether and how global connectedness, social protection, and democracy can be rendered compatible or even mutually reinforcing.  

    Burgoon's teaching focuses on general political science, political economy, international relations, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. The key goal of that teaching is to help students want and know how to use the theoretical and empirical tools of social science to explore political life, and to do so in the service of human purposes. 

  • Gregorio Buzzelli

    Gregorio Buzzelli is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Milan (Political Studies) and Research Fellow at the Polytechnic University of Turin (THESEUS Research Centre). Gregorio has been Visiting Fel-low at the University of Amsterdam and Ghent. His research interests are focused on the impact of technological change on the labor market and, particularly, on its political con-sequences.

  • Francesco Nicoli

    Francesco Nicoli is assistant professor of political science at the Politecnico Institute of Turin. He also serves as professor of political economy at Gent University and he is affiliate fellow at the department of economics of the University of Amsterdam as well as visiting fellow at Bruegel.

    He holds a PhD in political economy, and his research focuses on the role of long-term, fundamental socioeconomic challenges (such as technological change and globalization) in shaping processes of integration at European and international level. His work has appeared on leading scientific outlets such as the Journal of European Public Policy (JEPP), the Journal of Common Market Studies (JCMS), Economic Policy, European Union Politics, the European Journal of Political Economy, Policy and Society, the European Journal of Public Health, Comparative European Politics, and others. He specializes in experimental survey research, econometric analysis, counter-factual methods, as well as a range of theory-based approaches. 

  • Stefano Sacchi

    Stefano Sacchi is professor of Political Science in the Department of Management and Production Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin, where he coordinates the research center Theseus - Technology, Society and Humanity. He is the Scientific Director of the Master in Technology and Public Policy, jointly organized by the Politecnico di Torino with the International Traning Centre of the International Labour Organization, ITC-ILO. His research interests include the political economy of labour and welfare, and the socioeconomic and political impact of technological change.

    Before joining the Politecnico di Torino, he taught at the University of Milan and LUISS Guido Carli in Rome and was Luigi Einaudi Chair scholar at Cornell University, NordWel scholar at Syddansk Universitet, visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and University of Washington. Between 2014 and 2016 he was an advisor to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and the Prime Minister's Office of Italy. Between 2016 and 2020, he was President of Italy’s National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP).


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