171 Changing Welfare States

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
A0.08 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Changing Welfare States by Anton Hemerijck is major new examination of the wave of social reform that has swept across Europe over the past two decades. In a comparative fashion, it analyses reform trajectories and political destinations in an era of rapid economic, social, and political restructuring, including the critically important dimension of European integration. The book argues that the overall scope of social reform across the member states of the European Union varies widely. In some cases welfare state change has been accompanied by deep social conflicts, while in other instances unpopular social reforms received broad consent from opposition parties, trade unions and employer organizations. The analysis reveals trajectories of welfare reform in many countries that are more proactive and reconstructive than is often argued in academic research and the media. Alongside welfare retrenchments, there have been deliberate attempts to rebuild social programs and institutions to accommodate policy repertoires to the new economic and social realities of the 21st century in many advanced European welfare states. Welfare state change is work in progress, leading to patchwork mixes of old and new policies and institutions, on the lookout, perhaps, for greater coherence. Unsurprisingly, that search process remains incomplete, resulting from the institutionally bounded and contingent adaptation to new social realities.

The book opens room for debate on a number of issues. First it allows to rethink our approach to the assessment of welfare reforms. It then provides empirical evidence of the major innovations introduced so far and the political dynamics that have characterised two decades of welfare reforms. It then sheds light on the analytical perspective to follow for studying the present wave of reforms after the economic crisis.

Jonathan Zeitlin
Anton Hemerijck , Stephan Leibfried , Bruno Palier , Stefano Sacchi , Maurizio Ferrera and Silja Häusermann
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