A loud, but noisy signal? Public opinion and the politics of education reform in Western Europe
Marius Busemeyer (University of Konstanz)
This talk discusses the question under which conditions public opinion influences educational policy-making in Europe. I argue that this influence is contingent on the salience of a particular issue as well as the coherence of citizens’ attitudes on that issue. When salience is high and attitudes are coherent, public opinion sends a “loud” signal that policy-makers are likely to follow. In contrast, when salience is low, we enter the realm of “quiet politics”, where interest groups play a greater role. Finally, when issue salience is high, but attitudes are conflicting, e.g. due to strong cleavages in public opinion, we find ourselves in a world of “loud, but noisy politics”, where party politics dominates policy-making. The talk will introduce this framework in greater detail, provide quantitative evidence and analyses of public opinion on education policy in Western Europe as well as case study evidence for the case of Germany.
Social partners and social inclusion in collective skill formation systems
Niccoló Durazzi (University of Edinburgh)
Collective skill formation systems – most commonly associated with apprenticeship systems of Continental European countries – have been traditionally able to combine economic efficiency and social inclusion. Yet, de-industrialisation and the rise of knowledge economies are increasingly undermining the socially inclusionary nature of these systems. As a response, various policy measures have been put in place across countries to counter these exclusionary dynamics. The talk proposes a theoretical framework to study the politics underpinning reforms aimed at increasing social inclusion in collective skill formation systems with a particular focus on the role of social partners: trade unions and employer organisations. Implications for countries with weak track-record in apprenticeship policy – such as Anglo-Saxon countries – will also be drawn and it will be argued that such implications are particularly relevant in the current context of the Covid-19 crisis, which puts severe strains on the school-to-work transition of young people.