203 Welfare and Public Services Facing Austerity and Marketization

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
John McIntyre - Teaching Room 208 (University of Glasgow)
This panel deals with a question which, while being of concern in virtually every European country (and beyond) – has received relatively little attention from political scientists. How do governments restructure their public services in the face of dwindling fiscal resources? In health care, housing and public utilities this question is tied to the contradiction between the fulfilment of basic human needs, on the one hand, and the increasing pressure for cost containment, on the other. The marketization of these areas – which is a more advanced process in housing and public utilities than in health care – has created further tensions both in terms of fiscal sustainability and social equity. For European governments, the challenge of providing affordable housing with basic utilities and universal health care while also establishing acceptable boundaries between the state and the market has been around for decades, and the global financial crisis has sharpened these contradictions. The papers gathered in this session shall tackle two sets of research questions. 1) How have various governments responded to sharpened dilemmas regarding the sustainability of welfare services in the era of austerity? And how divergent are national responses depending on previous reform trajectories, government fiscal position and the networks of policymaking?

2) How have various actors, especially civil society organisations and experts, been involved in providing knowledge supporting such reforms? Have governments provided efficient legitimising narratives or, on the contrary, have they have to face contestation and alternative discourses?

Imre Szabo
Discussant :
Cornel Ban
Creating Legitimacy in Hard Times – How Governments Justify Controversial Health Care Reforms
Amandine Crespy, Université libre de Bruxelles²; Imre Szabo, Central European University
Housing As a Social Right or Means to Wealth? Policy Ideas and the Re-Emergence of the Housing Question
Dorothee Bohle, European University Institute; Leonard Seabrooke, Copenhagen Business School
Educating for Mobility?
Jane Gingrich, University of Oxford
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