Beliefs of political leaders: conditions for change in the Eurozone crisis

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Series Details Volume 43, Number 5, Pages 1163-1186
Publication Date September 2020
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Leadership studies research reveals that political leaders’ beliefs affect their political and policymaking behaviour, especially in times of crisis. Moreover, the level of flexibility of these beliefs influences the likelihood that groups of leaders come to collective decisions. Insight into when and why political leaders do, in fact, change their beliefs is sorely lacking.

This paper uses fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to examine the antecedents of belief changes among 12 European leaders, all working in the realm of economic policy. Its findings reveal how increases in unemployment and unsustainable debt, as well as different government ideologies and increases in Euroscepticism lead to economic belief changes. In so doing, this paper begins to open the ‘black box’ of when, why, and under what conditions leaders change their beliefs.

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