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Current Research Projects

The core and associated staff of the Hellenic Observatory engage in a number of in-house, collaborative and commissioned projects along the thematic lines and geographic focus defined by our strategic aims and mission. At the same time, it has also engaged in a number of projects conducted by external researchers to promote public policy research and to foster academic collaboration and networks.

List of Current Research Projects

The future of housing in Greece

 

Dr Philipp Katsinas investigates the impacts of the economic crisis on housing in Greece. Traditionally characterised by high rates of owner-occupation, the absence of social housing and relatively low residential segregation, the Greek housing system has been affected by increased private indebtedness both towards the state (due to the introduction of a new property tax) and to financial institutions (due to non-performing loans) and the opening up of property foreclosures, which had been largely prevented until recently. Further developments have included the growth in short-term rentals and the entry of transnational investors into the housing market. Using a mixed-methods approach, the project addresses housing recommodification and financialisation, focusing on the interaction between state and supranational policies, financial institutions, investors, and local government development strategies, providing insights on finance- and culture-led urban restructuring and its socio-spatial effects from the Greek case.

 

Wages, employment and labour market reforms: Lessons from Greece

 

Dr Ioannis Laliotis is working on a number of research projects of policy relevance and public debate. His research portfolio spans over empirical applications on the Greek labour market and on the interplay between economic conditions, labour markets and health. As a Research Officer at the Hellenic Observatory of the London School of Economics he is focusing on analysing the impacts from the implementation of labour market and collective bargaining system reforms. More specifically, his research explores the features of the decentralized collective negotiations system in Greece before and after the 2011 industrial relations reform. Using the universe of signed firm-level contracts for a large number of years, his research will attempt to explore the profile of firms that responded to the institutional change and estimate the implications for contractual base wages and other labour market outcomes. Second, and from a more policy-relevant and causal perspective, his research seeks to formally evaluate the impact of the reform, in terms of wages and employment, by developing and matching unique sources of contract and firm-specific data and applying quasi-experimental methods.

 

The Oxford Handbook on Greek Politics

 

Professor Kevin Featherstome is co-editing the volume The Oxford Handbook on Greek Politics with Dimitris Sotiropoulos (Athens). This is due for publication in 2019. It will contain over 40 full-length chapters by leading academics reflecting on post-1974 developments in Greece, placed in a conceptual and comparative perspective. It aims to provide an authoritative guide to the development of contemporary Greek politics – particularly from 1974 to the present, what has been termed the ‘Metapolitefsi’ period since the fall of the Colonels’ junta. This is not a chronological history; rather, it is a reflective commentary and analysis across the key themes of development that have shaped politics, institutions, and policies. As reflective essays, they critically assess the existing literature in specific fields and outline agendas for future research to build-up knowledge and awareness – they identify themes and seek to shape research terrains. Analytically, they comprise conceptual and empirical dimensions to deepen the appreciation of developments and to connect them to a wider, international literature. In placing developments in this reflective and analytical context, the chapters will provide expert insight that can stand the test of time as a key point of reference.


Does the ‘Quality of Government’ matter? Weak states, strong societies, and the challenges of EU governance

 

In the multi-level governance of the European Union, national governments are obliged to carry out a range of functional tasks consequent on their EU membership. This paper by Professor Kevin Featherston assesses how far their performance is affected by their national ‘state tradition’, as developed by Dyson. To operationalise the concept, it distinguishes two key dimensions: administrative tradition and the social autonomy of the state. It applies established typologies of the former and, following Rothstein, it creates an ‘impartiality index’ for the latter. EU member states display variation on both measures. The results show an incomplete pattern in terms of administrative tradition, but significant explanatory value for the independence of state institutions from societal pressures, such as corruption, favouritism, and mistrust. The implications for the EU’s dependency on member state delivery, and its management of their heterogeneity, are discussed in the context of the political sensitivities of recent crises.

 The Greek labour market

 

 Research in this field involves a number of small projects led by Dr Vassilis Monastiriotis, using data from the Greek Labour Force Survey and applied microeconometric techniques to understand various aspects of the Greek labour market and of changes instigated with the crisis and recent labour market reforms. Specific topics include changes in the structure of sectoral returns and of gender-based occupational segregation (both with Rebekka Christopoulou), geographical differences in unemployment adjustments (with Angelo Martelli), changes in intra-household labour supply decisions (with Nikole Lampropoulou) and two research pieces seeking to evaluate in particular the effects of changes in wage-setting on wage adjustability (with Eleni Kyrkopoulou) and of the minimum wage on employment (with Andreas Georgiades and Ioannis Kaplanis). 

 Regional growth and convergence

 

A number of research papers are developed under this theme, concerning both broad economic geography questions and questions linked specifically to the effectiveness of European Cohesion Policy in Greece. A paper on Spatial Structure and Spatial Dynamics of Regional Incomes in Greece (with Can Karahasan) has recently been published as chapter 15 in the edited volume by Bournakis et al (eds), Political Economy Perspectives on the Greek Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan); while a follow-up paper on the theme, titled Regional Inequalities in Greece: A Spatiotemporal Analysis, is currently in preparation (again, with Can Karahasan). Another paper, with Theodore Arvanitopoulos and Theodore Panagiotidis, looks at the patterns of stochastic convergence across the Greek prefectures and examines their geographical-economic determinants. Last, the Spatial Allocation and Economic Impacts of Cohesion Funds in Greece is examined in current work in collaboration with Dimitris Kallioras and George Petrakos.

The gender effect of the crisis in Greece: old-age care, working decisions and the male-female gap

 

 Dr Nikolitsa Lampropoulou is working on the project “The gender effect of the crisis in Greece: old-age care, working decisions and the male-female gap”. She examines the effect of the economic crisis on the working decisions of females relative to males in terms of employment, unemployment, inactivity and hours of work. Moreover, she investigates the gender impact of the economic crisis on the working decisions in households with elderly parents.

 

 Mapping the obstacles for institutional change in Greece

 

The main objective of Dr Irene Martin Cortes's research is to map the different obstacles for institutional change in Greece during the period of the memoranda from 2010 onwards. The different sources of resistance will be classified along the typology internal/external and economic/political.

In a second phase, a special emphasis will be given to obstacles related to electoral costs. On the side of domestic actors, these obstacles have to do with the avoidance of electoral risks. It can be hypothesized that the losers of reforms will be less likely to vote for those parties passing and implementing the reforms, or to withdraw from their constituency. This research tries to identify the self-perceived losers and winners of the reforms and the changes in their voting behavior. This requires observing the reforms adopted during this period and their effect on each social group, but also other factors that may have an influence on the vote such as the charisma of the political leaders, or the perceived alternatives. Donor countries have also had to face electoral challenges linked to their positions on the Greek bailout. There is some evidence that the electoral situation in each country has had an impact on the way and the moment in the conditions of the bailout were approved. In some cases, this has led to a lack of congruence between the objectives followed and the policies requested by the donors. In this case, we could talk about obstacles to reforms related to the electoral risks of donor countries.

 

The Political Economy of Privatisation Policies after the Economic Crisis in Greece

 

This research by Dr Özgün Sarımehmet Duman makes an inquiry into privatisation as a critical policy tool for economic recovery after the economic crisis in Greece. It provides a concise background of the crisis, the state of the real economy and the financial market, and the measures introduced for economic recovery. It evaluates official documents and legal-institutional regulations. It claims that Greece has experienced a restructuring in its privatisation policy after the economic crisis. 

 

 Implications of Privatisation Policies on the Greek Labour Market

 

This research by Dr Özgün Sarımehmet Duman analyses how the extending scope of privatisation policies has changed the labour market structures and industrial relations towards further deregulation and flexibilisation in post-crisis Greece. It compares the levels of profitability in certain sectors. It assesses the hypothesis that the extending scope of privatisation policies has fundamentally changed the labour market structures and the nature of industrial relations towards further deregulation and flexibilisation.