3of Fordism, the liberalization and integration of financial markets, and changes in sec-toral and occupational structures had undermined the bases for centralized bargaining.This tendency, according to these authors, would be reinforced by events such as theEuropean Monetary Union that would further de-couple the level at which macroeco-nomic policy was set (Iversen 1999). In other words, these developments would confirmthe undoing of Schmitter's "Century of Corporatism" (1974) (Pérez 1998, Royo 1988,Royo 2000).This conclusion, however, is challenged by the resurgence of national level bar-gaining on income policy and other economic issues in a number of European states suchas Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, or Ireland during the 1980s and 1990s. This pa- per analyzes the resurgence of national-level social bargaining in two such Europeanstates: Portugal and Spain. It argues that this development derives from the combinationof the weakening of trade union organizations at the branch and firm level (evidenced bythe relative decline in union density and the incapacity of trade unions to mobilize work-ers in a response to manpower policies to liberalize the labor market) and the emergenceof new institutions to promote tripartite social bargaining in both countries (the SpanishEconomic and Social Council, CES and the Portuguese Permanent Committee for SocialConcertation, CPCS). The consolidation of the CES and CPCS has resulted in the institu-tionalization of the political struggle among the government, employers, and tradeunions, and it has contributed to a transformation in the pattern of industrial relations.The paper argues that the choices made by the social actors were less conditioned by pre-existing institutions. On the contrary, in both countries the changing balance of power affected the predisposition of the social actors to pursue their strategies through a new setof institutions. At the same time, new emerging constraints and incentives to changelargely determined their interaction and strategies. Finally, the paper also examines theimplications of the Portuguese and Spanish experiences for the broader debate on Euro- pean Monetary Union (EMU), and the role that centralized social bargaining may play inEMU.
THE QUEST FOR THEORY
In his seminal article, "
Still the Century of Corporatism?
" (1979) Philippe C. Schmitter rescued the concept of corporatism. He defined it as "a system of interest and/or attitude