Education and austerity in the European Union from an autism perspective: Policy mapping in Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Greece

Robin van Kessel*, Ines Siepmann, Luis Capucha, Apostolos Kavaliotis Paschalis, Carol Brayne, Simon Baron-Cohen, Katarzyna Czabanowska, Andres Roman-Urrestarazu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study explores how autism and education policy are affected by austerity measures in Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Greece by using a path dependence analysis. The implementation of mixed mainstream classrooms and improvements to infrastructure coincided with the ratification of inclusive education policy. Austerity measures appeared temporally associated with furthering of integration and inclusion policy for all countries under study, potentially due to the economic incentives of an integrated system. This trend is especially visible in Ireland, Portugal, and Greece, whereas lesser so in Italy. Even though the initial focus of this analysis was autism, the findings are applicable to the general area of special education needs due to the non-specific nature of national policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-520
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Policy Analysis
Issue number2
Early online date24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • austerity
  • autism
  • education
  • policy
  • special education needs

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