Publications of Fischer, A.

Power and conflict in the Swiss political elite : an aggregation of existing network analyses

Since Kriesi's (1980) pioneering work no study has attempted to provide an overall picture of power configuration among the Swiss political elite. To fill this gap we aggregate recent network analyses carried out in various policy domains. Based on meta-hypotheses regarding the likely effects of the contextual changes that have taken place during the last thirty years, we compare the structure of the Swiss political elite existing in the 1970s to that of the last decade with respect to reputational power, collaboration and conflict. Our results suggest that important transformations have indeed occurred. Thus, both political parties and some specific state bodies could increase their power, whereas most interest groups have lost some. While the internationalization of politics has overall had the expected effects with respect to the power structure and to conflict among political parties, it did not lead to the hypothesized, new conflict among interest groups.

Swiss telecommunications policy : from state monopoly to intense regulation

Telecommunications offer one of the most fascinating examples of large-scale infrastructure policy shifts under European and international pressure. This contribution proposes a time series analysis of major reforms in Swiss telecommunications policy and of its underlying reasons. Originally, the characteristics of the telecommunications sector led to a monopolistic market structure. While the patterns of this policy were stable for many decades, a worldwide policy shift changed the fundamental assumptions on which the original policy was based. In Switzerland, a series of consecutive reforms revolutionized the telecommunications policy and changed every bit of the regulatory, supply and ownership policy : from monopoly to (strongly regulated) competition, from the state-run PTT to the partially privatized Swisscom, new regulatory authorities (ComCom, Ofcom) and a new framework in order to guarantee universal service.This contribution analyzes the rationales behind the old policy and describes the main patterns of the new framework. The main part of the paper discusses the reasons for the domestic policy shifts : it shows that the conditions in terms of technological development, ideology, economic theory as well as international and European policy pressure changed enormously within a few years. These factors modified the incentive structure at the domestic level considerably and altered the domestic power configuration. Among the major political actors, nobody could fundamentally challenge the reform movement. Instead, skeptical actors offered their support for the reform in exchange for some minor concessions in specific fields that were of particular relevance for their interests.

Fischer A. Das Kantonsreferendum : Wirkungsweise und Reformansätze. In: Vatter A, editor. Föderalismusreform : Wirkungsweise und Reformansätze föderativer Institutionen. Zürich: Neue Zürcher Zeitung Pub.; 2006. p. 132-51.

Bookreview: Verkannte Aussenpolitik. Entscheidungsprozesse in der Schweiz

This article reviews the book:KLÖTI, Ulrich, Christian HIRSCHI, Uwe SERDÜLT und Thomas WIDMERVerkannte Aussenpolitik. Entscheidungsprozesse in der Schweiz. 2005, Zürich, Chur: Verlag Rüegger,

Einseitige Problemsicht: das Verhältnis der Schweizer zur EU

This article reviews the book: Die Schweizer und Europa. Willhelm Tell zwischen Bern und Brüssel by Anna Hollman (2005, Baden-Baden)

Bookreview: Energiepolitische Vernetzung in der Schweiz : Analyse der Kooperationsnetzwerke und Ideensysteme der energiepolitischen Entscheidungsträger

This article reviews the book:JEGEN, MayaEnergiepolitische Vernetzung in der Schweiz. Analyse der Kooperationsnetzwerke und Ideensysteme der energiepolitischen Entscheidungsträger2003, Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn

Vetospieler und die Durchsetzbarkeit von Side-Payments. Der schweizerische innenpolitische Entscheidungsprozess um flankierende Massnahmen zur Personenfreizügigkeit mit der Europäischen Union

Veto Players and the Enforceability of Side-Payments.The Swiss Decision Making Process on the Flanking Measures to the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons with the European Union Once an agreement is signed at the international level, it can no longer be modified during the domestic decision-making process. However, it is possible to compensate potential veto players by a purely domestic legislative act. Under which circumstances do such side-payments make sense, and what is the role played by political strategies? In order to be compensated, an actor needs to be considered a veto player. Furthermore, the defenders of the international agreement must have a sufficiently large interest in its ratification to be willing to offer compensations. These basic conditions fulfilled, the existence or not of side-payments depends on the strategic interactions between the political actors. In the last ten years, Swiss citizens had to vote twice on an international agreement establishing free movement of persons. In both cases, the unions asked for flanking measures; while they failed in their attempt in the context of the European Economic Area, they succeeded in the case of the bilateral agreements. This difference in outcome is all the more surprising since in both cases the unions were in a veto player position and the export oriented economy had a strong interest in the ratification of the agreements. This article explains the different fate of the unions’ claims by stressing the role of changes in actor strategies. The credibility of the threat to block the decision-making process and the succession of the game sequences are in this perspective of paramount importance. By using strategically the veto threat, domestic groups such as unions are able to benefit from internationalisation.

Wirtschaftsbranche, Gewerkschaftsstärke und Interessengegensätze der Arbeitgeber: Der Fall der flankierenden Massnahmen zur Personenfreizügigkeit

Sector of Economy, Strength of Unions and the Opposition of Interest among Employers: The Case of the Flanking Measures Concerning the Treaty on the Free Movement of Persons’ The rules of the game in the sense of the legal framework are of major importance for negotiations between social partners. In Switzerland, these rules have changed with the adoption of the flanking measures to the free movement of persons’ treaty. One has, among other modifications, eased the conditions for declaring a collective wage agreement compulsory in the case of wage dumping. The employers associations had divergent preferences with regard to this modification. So far, one has explained this difference by the opposition between domestic and export oriented economy. However, the analysis of employers associations’ statements shows that the domestic economy did not unanimously accept the flanking measures. This contribution examines the divergence of interests inside the domestic economy and explains it by variations in the strength of the unions. Domestic sectors that are confronted with strong unions (for instance the construction sector), have an interest in facilitating the extension of compulsory wage agreements whereas domestic sectors with weak unions do not differ from the export oriented sector.

L’impact de l’internationalisation sur les processus de décision en Suisse: Une analyse quantitative des actes législatifs 1995-1999

The Impact of Internationalisation on the Swiss Decision-Making Process: A Quantitative Analysis of Legislative Acts, 1995-1999 Since the beginning of the 1980s, a growing number of studies have focused on the phenomenon of internationalisation. Yet, so far, the question of the impact of internationalisation on institutions and decision-making processes has largely been neglected. In this article we attempt to overcome this weakness by analysing how internationalisation has affected the Swiss decision-making system. To this end, we develop two research hypotheses. The first one deals with the effects of internationalisation on decision-making institutions, while the second one focuses on its impact on the degree of elite conflictuality. These hypotheses are tested on all legislative acts adopted by the Federal Assembly during the 1995-1999 legislative term and submitted to one of the three main direct democratic institutions (i.e. popular initiative, optional referendum, and obligatory referendum). Our findings show that, with the exception of cases of autonomous adaptation, legislative acts with a stronger international component arecharacterized by a weaker degree of pre-parliamentary consultation, as well as by a lower level of parliamentary conflict

Europeanisation of a non-EU country : the case of Swiss immigration policy

Although studies of the influence of Europeanisation on domestic politics and institutions are numerous, a consistent and systematic analytical framework is still lacking. This article tries to overcome this weakness and presents a comprehensive framework that examines the conditions under which Europeanisation is likely to lead to national adaptation. We identify three main independent variables, including domestic power configurations, mediating domestic institutions, and actors' strategies. This model is applied to the agreement on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the European Union. Our results suggest that it is not the number of veto points as such that matters most, but the strength of the actors that activate them or threaten to do so, and the counter-strategies available to actors favouring change.

Balázs P. Az európai integrációk mezsgyéjén. In: Fischer A, Gärtner P, editors. Vissza Európába : gondolatok Magyarország integrációs lehetőségeiről. Budapest: MHB; 1991. p. 38-43.