Dr. Rebecca Oliver

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Picture of Dr. Rebecca Oliver
Office: Faculty Hall 5A-9

Dr. Rebecca Oliver's CV

PhD, Northwestern University
BSc, Université de Montréal


Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Economy, Labor Politics, Gender and Social Policy, and Territorial Inequality


Oliver received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Her research examines the politics of inequality with respect to labor markets and social policy in Europe. Substantive topics of her work include labor union strategies, collective bargaining institutions, childcare policy and territorial inequalities in social spending.

She is currently completing revisions for her book, Negotiating Differences: The Politics of Egalitarian Bargaining Institutions. The book studies developments in egalitarian collective bargaining institutions and examines the following question: Why, in the face of common growing pressures towards greater liberalization and pay dispersion, are egalitarian bargaining institutions sustained or reconfigured in some instances and bluntly dismantled in others? Employing the cases of Italy and Sweden, she studies how different egalitarian institutional configurations are initially erected and are either sustained, reconfigured, or dismantled in the midst of rising economic pressures towards market-aligning mechanisms in wage setting. The explanation put forward is centered upon how structures of interest aggregation shape distributional conflicts and outcomes. Oliver argues that properties of aggregation are embedded within collective bargaining institutions and influence struggles over inequality, the framing of debate, the configuration of coalitions and perceptions of fairness surrounding the question of pay differentiation. Through these mechanisms, aggregational structures shape the formulation and sustainability of egalitarian institutions, along with the associated developments in pay inequality over time.


POL 252 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POL 359 Inquiry and Writing
POL 451 Politics of Western Europe


Oliver, Rebecca (forthcoming) Negotiating Differences: Developments in Collective Bargaining Italy and Sweden. Book manuscript. (Revisions in preparation)

Lynch, Julia and Oliver, Rebecca. (2016) “Immobilism by Design: Fiscal Devolution and Territorial Inequality in Italy”, Chapter 7 in Greer, S, Elliot H and Trench A. Federalism in Good Times and Bad, under contract with University of Michigan Press [in preparation]

Greer, Scott, Elliott, Heather & Oliver, Rebecca (2015). Differences That Matter: Overcoming Methodological Nationalism in Comparative Social Policy Research. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(4), 408-429. (Comparative Social Policy Research Best Article Award for 2015)

Oliver, Rebecca and Margitta Mätzke (2014) “Childcare Expansion in Conservative Welfare States: Policy Legacies and the Politics of Decentralized Implementation in Germany and Italy.” Social Politics, (Volume 21, Issue 1, pp. 1-27).

Oliver, Rebecca (2011) “Powerful Remnants: Politics of Egalitarian Wage Bargaining Institutions in Italy and Sweden.” (2011) Socio-Economic Review, (Volume 9, Issue 3), pp. 533-566.

Oliver, Rebecca (2008) "Diverging Developments in Wage Inequality." Comparative Political Studies (Volume 41, Issue 12), 1551-1582.