Talks, Lectures

Exploring How the Macro-Political Context Affects Interest Group Access to Policymakers - presentation at the University of Stuttgart, research colloquium, "Selected Problems in Comparative Politics" of Prof. Dr. Patrick Bernhagen, 10.11.2022

Presentation on the OrgIntCEE project and our research paper, which explores how macro-political factors in conjunction with micro-and meso-level factors affect interest group access to policymakers. Our analysis is conducted based on two original data sets: a population ecology database of Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovenian national-level energy policy, healthcare, and higher education organizations, and an online survey of these populations. This allowed us to investigate both polity-, population-, and organizational-level factors. As the sampled countries have recently experienced democratic backsliding, we also test the effect of closing deliberative structures. The analysis reveals that the political process influences access: the relative importance of the legislature for interest groups and the level of legislative fractionalisation affect access positively, while the closure of deliberative structures has a negative effect. Nevertheless, the political contextual factors are mediated through variables both at the population and organizational levels, as well as interorganizational cooperation.

labanino uni stuttgart 10.11.2022 .pdf

Interest Representaton in Illiberal Times, online presentation at the CEU Democracy Institute - 14.12.2021

How does democratic backsliding affect interest representation and intermediation? Surprisingly, searching for such studies on Google Scholar will not lead to many relevant hits if any. Indeed, interest organisation and lobbying research based even today mostly on North American and Western European cases is all too focused on the organisational level in explaining interest groups access to policy makers and their influence realisation. The presentation fills in this research gap. The analysis conducted on a sample of interest groups active at the national level in three policy domains across four Central and Eastern European EU member states reveals that the political process influences access: the relative importance of the legislature for interest groups and the level of legislative fractionalisation affect access positively, while the closure of deliberative structures has a negative effect. Nevertheless, the political contextual factors are mediated through variables both at the population and organisational levels, as well as interorganisational cooperation.

Interest Representaton in Illiberal Times, the Case of Hungary, presentation at the lecture series of the Schweizerische Osteuropabibliothek, University of Bern, "Macht(wechsel) im Osten Europas: Politik und Gesellachaft im Wandel?" - 14.10.2021

How does democratic backsliding affect interest representation and intermediation vis-á-vis the state? The presentation explores the consequences of decreasing democratic quality on civil society organizations based on the case of Hungary, a country which has regressed from a stable liberal democracy to a hybrid regime in the past 10 years. The presentation also introduces students to the main social science approaches to interest groups, social mobilization, and interest intermediation, and their applications to the post-communist context.

"No country for the unemployed - The political economy of unemployment insurance and pensions in Central and Eastern Europe", online presentation at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna, 12.11.2020

What explains the generosity of unemployment insurance in Central and Eastern Europe? How to explain policy outcomes that seemingly contradict the logic of the institutional environment they are embedded in? Among post-Communist EU Member States such residual welfare states as Estonia, Latvia or Bulgaria boast relatively generous unemployment insurance regimes, whereas two of the most generous post-Communist welfare states, Poland and Hungary, have the most residual ones. According to standard theories on the welfare state and varieties of capitalism we would expect Poland and Hungary having generous unemployment insurance regimes with their high-value added manufacturing export industries and their strong left-wing governments and relatively high union density levels (at least in the first two decades after the collapse of Communism and compared to the Baltic states).

In the seminar, Rafael Labanino discussed the cause of this counter-intuitive outcome. Abnormal pensioner booms, which took place most notably in Hungary and Poland – that is, letting masses of redundant workers of the collapsed Communist industries into early and disability pensions – are identified as a necessary condition for residual unemployment insurance regimes and relatively generous pension systems in the post-Communist context. Using a political institutionalist framework and based on a new comparative qualitative dataset of economic and social policy reforms, i.e. the Liberalisation Dataset 1973-2013, he presented the findings from the critical cases analysis which meticulously followed the politics of unemployment and pension reform processes in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Poland. The author showed how, in a relatively short period, political decisions made at a critical juncture in history can lock in distinctive policy pathways in the long run.

Emerging Scholars of Color Abroad, online podium discussion organized by the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurosian Studies and the University of Pittsburgh, Center for Russian, East European and Eurosian Studies, 16.10.2020

As a part of the Race in Focus discussion series, Ionada Costache, Stanford University, Alicia Hernandez-Strong, Yale University, Rafael Labanino, University of Konstanz, Kimberly St. Julian Varnon, University of Pennsylvania, and Alexa Tignall, University of California-Burkeley discussed their personal and professional experiences as people of color researching Eastern Europe. As race is very much of a blindspot in Eastern European studies, the discussion provided new insights on the inherent biases and discrimination people of color experience also on a professional level. But people of color can also bring new perspectives and research agendas that are unconsciously overlooked by other scholars with different background and experiences.

#MeToo és Digitális aktivizmus - mire képes egy hashtag? - Pódiumbeszélgetés az ELTE Digitális Szociológia Kutatóközpont szervezésében az ELTE TáTK-on, 2017.11.15

Kinek, kiről és miről szól a #metoo-jelenség? Mi az a hashtag-aktivizmus?Forradalmasítja-e a forradalmakat a közösségi média?

A Digitális Szociológia Kutatóközpont beszélgetésén a #metoo-jelenséget elemezték a meghívottak a moderátor segítségével: mit jelent pontosan a kirobbant kampány és mik a potenciális következményei? Miben tér el a #metoo a korábban bevett formáktól és vezethet-e egy ilyen megmozdulás társadalmi változáshoz?

A beszélgetésen részt vettek:

Kulcsár Rebeka (újságíró, 444), Labanino Rafael Pablo (politológus, publicista, Transindex), Zanin Éva (társadalomtörténész), Moderátor: Nagy Zsófia (Digitális Szociológia Kutatóközpont, ELTE TáTK)

A beszégetésről a Media 2.0 blog írt beszámolót.

Podiumsdiskussion: Die Erinnerung an 1956 in Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft, mit Prof. Dr. Gábor Egry, Dr. Regina Fritz, M.A. Rafael Labanino und Prof. Dr. Julia Richers, im Rahmen von der Veranstaltungsreihe "Ein Jahr im Kalten Krieg: 1956, Ost(mittel)Europa und die Welt", 17.11.2016, Schweizerische Osteuropabibiliothek, Universität Bern