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Truth Commissions after Economic Crises: Political Learning or Blame Game?

Kovras, Iosif, McDaid, Shaun and Hjalmarsson, Ragnar (2017) Truth Commissions after Economic Crises: Political Learning or Blame Game? Political Studies. ISSN 00323217

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This article addresses an important but understudied aspect of the recent Great Recession in Europe: the institutional strategies political elites deployed to address accountability and learning, more specifically, truth commissions (TCs). We raise two overlapping, puzzles. The first concerns the timing of the decision to adopt an economic TC: whilst Iceland established a TC at early stages of the crisis, Greece and Ireland did so much later. What accounts for ‘early’ versus ‘delayed’ truth seekers? The second concerns variations in learning outcomes. Iceland’s commission paved the way for learning institutional lessons, but TCs in Greece and Ireland became overtly politicised. What accounts for these divergences? The article compares truth commissions in Iceland, Greece and Ireland and identifies two types of political learning – institutional and instrumental – related to the establishment of a TC. It argues political elites in countries with higher pre-crisis levels of trust in institutions and public transparency are more likely to establish economic TCs quickly; this is the ‘institutional logic’ of learning. The ‘instrumental logic’ of learning, in contrast, leads governments interested in apportioning blame to their predecessors to establish commissions

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economic crisis; Accountability; Political learning; Commissions of inquiry; Truth commissions
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
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Depositing User: Shaun Mcdaid
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2017 16:40
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 16:16


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