UCL European Institute


Liberalism's Legacies

25 November 2016, 6:30 pm


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25 November 2016
Professor Mark Vail from Tulane University discusses the divergent conceptions of liberalism in France and Germany and the effects these differences have on their respective systems of economic governance.

Friday 25 November

G21 Ramsay Lecture Theatre
Christopher Ingold Building
20 Gordon Street, London

The past two decades have witnessed significant liberalization in both France and Germany in the critical areas of fiscal and labor-market policy, although the character of reforms in each country has differed significantly. France has accompanied deregulation with an expansion of citizenship-based income-support policies and confrontation of unions, while Germany has imposed the distributional burden of reform on labor-market outsiders even as they have shielded insiders from the costs of adjustment. Professor Vail will argue that differences in French and German labor-market policy trajectories stem from distinctive national conceptions of liberalism, reflected and institutionalized in the two countries' systems of political-economic governance. These national liberal traditions entail divergent notions of the appropriate scope of state intervention in the economy, and varying conceptions of the social and poltiical constituents that policies are meant to serve.


  • Mark Vail, Professor of Political Science, Tulane University
  • Lucy Barnes, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, UCL (Discussant)
  • Benjamin Martill, Research Associate, UCL (Chair)

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