A Long Goodbye to Bismarck?: The Politics of Welfare Reform in Continental Europe

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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This book provides an extensive and comparative account of all welfare reforms that occurred during the last three decades in Continental European countries. It reveals unexpected important structural reforms, to be understood as the culmination of a long reform trajectory, analyzed in detail with the tools of comparative historical institutionalism. With these reforms, Bismarckian welfare systems have lost their encompassing capacities, have partially turned to employment-friendliness and weakened the strongest elements of their male breadwinner bias. "This volume is the definitive work on the politics of reform in Bismarckian welfare regimes. It is essential reading for any scholar interested in welfare reform - or indeed, in institutional and policy change more generally." (Kathleen Thelen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ) "The contributors to the volume are all recognized experts on their field and provide strictly comparable analyses in their chapters, making this volume a gold mine for comparative welfare state scholars. Palier's volume is certain to be a benchmark study for the foreseeable future." (John D. Stephens, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) "This volume, representing the best available scholarship in comparative socio-economic research, provides important and highly policy-relevant insights. A must-read." (Fritz Scharpf, Max Planck Institute for the Studies of Societies)

Author Biography

Bruno Palier is CNRS researcher at the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques in Paris and scientific coordinator of the European Network of Excellence, Reconciling Work and Welfare in Europe.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 9
Prologue: What Does it Mean to Break with Bismarck?p. 11
Ordering change: Understanding the 'Bismarckian' Welfare Reform Trajectoryp. 19
Introductionp. 19
A Historical Institutionalist Framework for Analysisp. 21
Bismarckian Welfare Systems as they Werep. 35
A Social Insurance State Withers Away. Welfare State Reforms in Germany - Or: Attempts to Turn Around in a Cul-de-Sacp. 45
Introductionp. 45
The German Social Insurance State as we Knew itp. 47
A Sequential Reform Trajectoryp. 51
The Consequences of Maneuvering out of the Cul-de-Sacp. 64
The Bumpy Road out of the Reform Blockade: How was it Possible?p. 68
Conclusionp. 70
The Dualizations of the French Welfare Systemp. 73
Introductionp. 73
The Institutional Arrangements Reflecting the Post-War Compromisesp. 74
The French Reform Trajectoryp. 77
Conclusion: Dualisms in the French Welfare Systemp. 96
Janus-Faced Developments in a Prototypical Bismarckian Welfare State: Welfare Reforms in Austria since the 1970sp. 101
Introductionp. 101
How Bismarckian was the Austrian Welfare State?p. 102
Welfare State Change since the 1970s: Reform Sequencesp. 104
Bismarck is Dead. Long Live Bismarckp. 120
Continental Welfare at a Crossroads: The Choice between Activation and Minimum Income Protection in Belgium and the Netherlandsp. 129
Introductionp. 129
The Dutch Miracle Revisitedp. 131
Belgium's Reluctant and Erratic Path towards Activationp. 139
Path-Dependent Policy Divergence across Small Continental Welfare Regimesp. 145
Explaining within Regime Policy Divergencep. 152
Italy: An Uncompleted Departure from Bismarckp. 157
Introductionp. 157
A Bismarckian Route... With a First Departurep. 158
Departing from the Bismarckian Compromise: A Stepwise Process of Reformp. 161
Towards the End of the Bismarckian Compromisep. 177
Conclusionsp. 179
Defrosting the Spanish Welfare State: The Weight of Conservative Componentsp. 183
Introductionp. 183
The Point of Departure: The Spanish Welfare State in the Late 1970sp. 185
Reforming Social Protection in the Last Three Decadesp. 189
Explaining the Spanish Trajectory of Reformp. 202
Conclusionsp. 205
Reform Opportunities in a Bismarckian Latecomer: Restructuring the Swiss Welfare Statep. 207
Introductionp. 207
Welfare State Growth in a Context of Institutional Power Fragmentationp. 210
Endogenous and Exogenous Challenges to the Swiss Welfare Systemp. 215
Reform Dynamics since the 1980s along Two Dimensionsp. 218
Conclusion: The Politics Linking Modernization and Cost Containmentp. 229
The Politics of Social Security Reforms in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakiap. 233
Introductionp. 233
The Period before 1945p. 235
The Period from 1945 to 1989p. 237
The Period from 1989 onwardsp. 241
Policy Discourses and International Organizationsp. 248
Conclusionp. 250
Reforming Bismarckian Corporatism: The Changing Role of Social Partnership in Continental Europep. 255
Introductionp. 255
The Role of Social Partners in Welfare System Theoriesp. 257
Social Governance in Bismarckian Welfare Systemsp. 261
Social Governance in Bismarckian Pension Systemsp. 264
Social Governance in Bismarckian Labor Market Policiesp. 270
Conclusion: Towards Reforming Governancep. 276
Trajectories of Fiscal Adjustment in Bismarckian Welfare Systemsp. 279
Introductionp. 279
Revenue, Debt, Expendituresp. 281
Dilemmatic Policy Choicesp. 287
Taxes versus Social Insurance Contributions - French and German Experiencesp. 292
Conclusionp. 297
Whatever Happened to the Bismarckian Welfare State? From Labor Shedding to Employment-Friendly Reformsp. 301
The Adaptive Capacity of the Continental Welfare Statep. 301
The Continental Employment Dilemmap. 305
Reconciling Welfare with Work: A Sequence of Intense Reformsp. 313
An Unfinished Social Reform Agenda for Bismarckian Countriesp. 323
Conclusionp. 331
The Long Conservative Corporatist Road to Welfare Reformsp. 333
Introductionp. 333
How did Continental European Welfare System Change? The Commonalities of the Typical Bismarckian Reform Trajectoryp. 335
How to Explain the Bismarckian Welfare Reform Trajectory?p. 362
What have the Bismarckian Welfare Systems Become?p. 374
What are the Main Economic and Social Consequences of the Welfare Reform Trajectory?p. 380
The Crisis and Beyondp. 385
Notesp. 389
Bibliographyp. 403
About the Contributorsp. 439
Indexp. 443
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