Since 2008, Spain’s economy has suffered from an unemployment crisis. In response, voters elevated the Partido Popular (PP) to power in 2011 after becoming frustrated with the Partido Socialista Obrero Español’s (PSOE) lack of effective action. However, since the election of 2011, very little has changed in Spain’s stagnant economy. Unemployment remains high despite initially promising reforms in Spain’s labor market and a bailout for Spain’s larger banks in 2012 has done little to bring foreign investment back into the country. In this paper, I contend that the PP’s timid response to the unemployment crisis is the result of a conservative ideology among political elites. These elites are empowered to maintain these policies by a weak legislative representation system, rampant conflicts of interest between the government and financial institutions, and pressure by the international community to continue austerity measures without a temporary increase in public spending.

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© 2014 Taylor S. Shippen

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