Professor Deborah Mabbett
BCA (Hons) (Victoria University of Wellington), D.Phil in Economics (Oxford), Professor of Public Policy
My academic training is in economics, but I have worked on public and social policy for most of my professional career. In the 1980s and 1990s I worked mainly on comparative social policy, and held research grants from the (then) UK Department of Social Security and the European Commission. I also worked for a short spell with the New Zealand Royal Commission on Social Policy. From 1993-1996 and again in 1999-2001 I worked as a consultant for the World Bank in Moldova and Lithuania. Subsequently much of my research has been on the EU, including the effects of the single market on social insurance, the impact of anti-discrimination law and the political economy of the euro area. I have also written on pensions policy from a comparative perspective, and I am currently working on a project on the comparative political economy of minimum wages.
The public are often told that 'there is no alternative' to the adoption of specific economic policies. In the contest for economic resources, partisan political debate is limited to a narrow range of redistributive taxation and spending policies, while many policies with profound effects on economic well-being are made by central bankers, regulators, judges and other experts. In my research, I try to illuminate how decisions affecting economic welfare are assigned between politically-contested and uncontested arenas, and how each arena works in constructing policy alternatives, seeking consensus, and responding to 'irritants' that disrupt prevailing policy settlements. Comparative studies can be revealing about how policy choices are constrained in specific national settings. For example, market-regulatory policies are often more politically contested in the United States than in Europe, while policy-making in the European Union has thrived on non-partisan regulatory methods. Through my research, which is primarily based on case studies of important policy areas, I aim to challenge the view that markets are beyond political influence, and to show the potential of taking a view of social policy which is not limited what can be done with the constrained budgetary resources of governments.
- I convene the MSc in Public Policy and Management, and teach the following postgraduate courses:
- Modern British Politics
- Public Management: Theories and Innovations
- I am currently supervising dissertations in the following areas:
- Contracting-out of public services to 'civil society'/ 'third sector' organisations
- Influence of public service contractors on policy-making
- Participatory irrigation management: the supranational dissemination of a model for managing the allocation of water
- The role of statutory public participation institutions in the political management of the NHS
- ‘Searching under the lamp-post: the evolution of fiscal surveillance’ (with Waltraud Schelkle) forthcoming in M Rhodes and J Caporaso (eds) The Crisis in the Eurozone: A New Step Forward in the European Integration Process? Oxford: OUP.
- The Minimum Wage in Germany: What Brought the State In? Forthcoming in Journal of European Public Policy
- What difference does Euro membership make to stabilization? The political economy of international monetary systems revisited (with Waltraud Schelkle) Review of International Political Economy, Vol 22 No 3, pp.508-534, 2015.
- Adjudicating on Equality: Combating sex discrimination in private insurance
in the EU. Presented at 'Shifting to Post-Crisis Welfare States in Europe? Long and Short Term Perspectives, Berlin, June 4-5 2013 (Nordic Centre of Excellence Programme on Welfare State Research)
- Regulation and Governance, Vol 8 No 2 pp.186-202, 2014.
- The Ghost in the Machine: Pension Risks and Regulatory Responses in the United States and the United Kingdom, Politics and Society, Volume 40 Issue 1 March 2012 pp. 104 - 126. (Pre-publication version)
- A Rights Revolution in Europe? Regulatory and judicial approaches to nondiscrimination in insurance. LEQS Paper No 38, LSE, May 2011.
- The Regulatory Rescue of the Welfare State, Jerusalem Papers in Regulation and Governance No 28, Dec 2010; also in David Levi-Faur (ed) Handbook of the Politics of Regulation
- Age Discrimination in Law and Policy: How the Equal Treatment Directive affects National Welfare States, in Malcolm Ross and Yuri Borgmann-Prebil (eds) Promoting Solidarity in the European Union (OUP, 2010)
- The regulatory politics of private pensions in the UK and Germany, in Lutz Leisering (ed) The New Regulatory State. Regulating Private Pensions in Germany and the UK (Palgrave, 2011)
- (with Waltraud Schelkle) The Politics of Conflict Management in EU Regulation, West European Politics, Vol 32, No 4, 2009, pp. 699-718
- Supplementary pensions between social policy and social regulation ,West European Politics, Vol 32, No 4, 2009, pp. 774-791
- Telling tales from abroad: Australia, the Netherlands and the welfare-to-work proposals in the UK , Benefits/ Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Vol 17, No 2, 2009, pp.137-47
- ‘Aspirational legalism and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in equality policy' , Political Quarterly, Vol 79 Issue 1 pp.45-52
- Learning by numbers? The use of indicators in the coordination of social inclusion policies in Europe , Journal of European Public Policy, Vol 14, No 1, 2007, pp. 79-96 (88kb/doc)
- (with Waltraud Schelkle), Bringing macroeconomics back into the political economy of reform: the Lisbon Agenda and the 'fiscal philosophy' of the EU , Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol 45, No 1, 2007, pp.81-104 (251kb/pdf)
- Utility tariffs and the political economy of social policy , Development and Transition, No 5, pp.3-5
- Some are more equal than others: Definitions of disability in social policy and discrimination law in Europe , Journal of Social Policy,Vol 43 No 2, 2005 (106kb/doc)
- The Development of Rights-Based Social Policy in the European Union , JCMS, Vol 43 No 1 pp.97-120, 2005 (123kb/pdf)
- How is Policy Made? in Raia Prokovnik, ed, Making Policy, Shaping Lives, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005 (146kb/doc)
- Fiscal Stabilisers in Europe: The Macroeconomic Impact of Tax and Benefit Systems EUROMOD Working Paper 07/04, 2004
- Why have disability categories in social security? Benefits Vol 11, No 38, Issue 3, October, pp.163-168, 2003 (50kb/doc)
- Definitions of Disability in Europe: A Comparative Analysis,Employment and Social Affairs DG, EC, Brussels, 2003
- Commentary on Transforming disability into ability, a report by the OECD, European Centre for Social Welfare Research and Policy, Vienna 2003
- (with H. Bolderson) Non-Discrimination, Free Movement and Social Citizenship in Europe: Contrasting Provisions for EU Nationals and Asylum Seekers in R. Sigg and C. Behrendt (eds) Social Security in the Global Village, International Social Security Series, Volume 8, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick: London, 2002 (92kb/doc)
- (with H. Bolderson) ‘Non-Discriminating Social Policy? Policy scenarios for meeting needs without categorisation’ in J Clasen (ed),What Future for Social Security? Debates and Reforms in National and Cross-National Perspective, Kluwer, The Hague.(96kb/doc)
- Mutuality in insurance and social security: Retrospect and prospect in J Birchall (ed) The New Mutualism in Public Policy, London: Routledge 2001. (72kb/doc)
- Social regulation and the social dimension in Europe: The example of insurance, European Journal of Social Security Vol 2, No 3, 2000. (80kb/doc)
- Risk and Security in the Private Provision of Old Age Pensions: A Review of the Government's Stakeholder Pension Proposals (Working Paper 1999)
- (with H Bolderson), Devolved social security systems: Principal-agent versus multi-level governance Journal of Public Policy, Vol 18, No 2, 1999 (107kb/doc)
- (with H. Bolderson), Theories and methods in comparative social policy in J Clasen, Ed, Comparative Social Policy: Concepts, Theories and Methods, Blackwell, Oxford, 1999 (187kb/doc)
- (with H. Bolderson), 'Cost containment in complex social security systems: The limitations of targeting' International Social Security Review Vol 49, No 1, pp.3-17, 1996 (1.04mb/pdf)
- (with H. Bolderson), 'Mongrels or thoroughbreds: A cross-national look at social security systems' European Journal of Political Research Vol 28, pp.119-139, 1995 (1.04mb/pdf)
- Reforming Social Security in Economies in Transition: Problems and Policies in the Former Soviet Republic of Moldova The International Social Security Review 1/97 (95kb/doc)
- A Comparative Study of Trade and Labour Market Policies in Sweden and New Zealand, 1880-1980 A revised version of this study was published as Trade, Employment and Welfare,Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995 (613kb/doc)
- Professor Deborah Mabbett's inaugural lecture 'The Second time as Tragedy: Austerity under Thatcher and the Coalition'. This lecture was given as part of the events for the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Politics, on Thursday 8th November, 2012. A transcript of the lecture can be downloaded here.