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Social Policy in the Smaller European Union States

Social Policy in the Smaller European Union States

Gary B. Cohen
Ben W. Ansell
Robert Henry Cox
Jane Gingrich
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    Social Policy in the Smaller European Union States
    Book Description:

    In Europe and around the world, social policies and welfare services have faced increasing pressure in recent years as a result of political, economic, and social changes. Just as Europe was a leader in the development of the welfare state and the supportive structures of corporatist politics from the 1920s onward, Europe in particular has experienced stresses from globalization and striking innovation in welfare policies. While debates in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France often attract wide international attention, smaller European countries-Belgium, Denmark, Austria, or Finland-are often overlooked. This volume seeks to correct this unfortunate oversight as these smaller countries serve as models for reform, undertaking experiments that only later gain the attention of stymied reformers in the larger countries.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-264-1
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Social Policy in the Smaller EU States
    (pp. 1-14)
    Gary B. Cohen, Ben W. Ansell, Robert Henry Cox and Jane Gingrich

    In Europe and around the world in recent years, political, economic, and social changes have placed increasing pressure on social policy and welfare services. The integrative forces of globalization have strained longstanding national social policies and institutions. Ever-growing flows of goods and capital around the world have seemingly threatened the ability of governments to guarantee both the corporatist agreements protecting job security and the welfare entitlements that developed in many countries after World War II. International market integration has strengthened neoliberal ideological arguments, which have called ever more insistently since the 1970s for retrenchment in welfare guarantees and services. Neoliberal...

  6. Section I. The Social Investment Agenda:: From Ideas to Policy?

    • Chapter 1 How Globalization and the European Union Are Changing European Welfare States
      (pp. 17-32)
      Robert Henry Cox

      Globalization and Europeanization are often described as forces that compel states to adopt neoliberal reforms to their welfare states. At the same time, these forces intensify the conflict over social policy by encouraging contending political parties to dig into their positions. Change in social policy, therefore, would seem to demand a fundamental reordering of the balance of political forces, with its attendant disruption and conflict. Although there has been a great deal of conflict around the politics of welfare reform in Europe, the countries with the most acerbic welfare debates have reached stalemates in the reform process, whereas the countries...

    • Chapter 2 Family Policies, Education, and Female Labor Market Participation in Advanced Capitalist Democracies
      (pp. 33-58)
      Robin Stryker, Scott R. Eliason, Eric Tranby and William Hamilton

      Assessing the relationship between education and labor market attainments has long been a staple of research by labor economists and sociologists (e.g. Jencks 1972; Becker 1975; Sewell and Hauser 1975; Stryker 1981; Rosenfeld and Kalleberg 1990; Eliason 1995; Hicks and Kenworthy 2008). Achievements in education are a central indicator of investment in labor market related human capital. So when researchers found that women often received less return in occupational prestige and earnings to their investments in education than did their male counterparts, it became a concern to be addressed through regulatory policies promoting anti-discrimination and gender pay equity (Stryker 1996)....

    • Chapter 3 Double Transformation: How to Adjust Institutional Social Policy?
      (pp. 59-80)
      Juho Saari

      Welfare states around the postindustrialized world have faced various pressures from the mid-1980s, the end of the so-called Golden Age. Since then, in most welfare states, the annual real increases in public/social expenditures have largely resulted from commitments made some twenty or thirty years beforehand on pensions, health care, child care, unemployment, and sickness insurance. In order to maintain these built-in commitments, most welfare states introduced policies aimed at maintaining a proper balance between the resources and the costs and promoting employment and economic growth (see also Korpi 2003). Yet the institutional structures of the welfare state matter, as there...

    • Chapter 4 The Social Investment State: A New Trend in Social Expenditure or Merely a Popular Political Discourse?
      (pp. 81-104)
      Jorma Sipilä

      The aim of the welfare state appears to have taken a complete U-turn. In the 1980s the welfare state was still largely understood as a political mediator that made the consequences of the market easier for citizens to bear. This function was neatly condensed in Esping-Andersen’s titlePolitics Against Markets(1985) and in the concept of “decommodification,” which was made famous by his epoch-making book,The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism(1990). However the principle of decommodification is also undeniably the reason why the welfare state has always been an object of economic and moral criticism.

      In the 1990s welfare...

  7. Section II. Interest Coalitions, Ideas, and Social Reform

    • Chapter 5 Multiple Market Prescriptions: The Diverse Models of Health Care Reform in Sweden
      (pp. 107-130)
      Jane Gingrich

      The intersection of market reforms and health care has become increasingly prominent in recent decades. As policy makers struggle to address rising costs and appeal to confident and choosy patients, market reforms have emerged on the agendas of some of the European Union’s largest and smallest member states. Much of the literature on market reform presents these changes as producing common outcomes and emerging from a common political constellation; however the experience of market reform in health care is far more varied, both in terms of the effects on service production and the politics behind them. This chapter looks at...

    • Chapter 6 Austrian Social Policy Reform in the Era of Integration and Rising Populism
      (pp. 131-152)
      Reinhard Heinisch

      Although Austria has undergone extraordinary political changes during the past twenty-five years, its overall welfare state has proven durable, weathering better than most the neoliberal renaissance of the 1980s and the country’s subsequent integration into the European Single Market. In fact, as this essay argues, social and labor market policies have been important tools utilized by policy makers to cushion the effects of Europeanization and industrial restructuring and were essential in managing economic deregulation and liberalization. In this story, the social partners, i.e., labor and business associations, played the role of “modernization brokers” (Heinisch 1999), helping to translate, absorb, and...

    • Chapter 7 Of Firms and Flexibility: The Dynamics of Collective Bargaining Reform in Spain and Portugal
      (pp. 153-176)
      Sara Watson

      Although in recent years a great deal has been written within the field of comparative political economy on the preferences of employers, the focus of most of this work has been on why we should expect employers to pursue greater flexibility in labor relations.¹ The dominant literature in this vein suggests that since Fordist modes of production have given way to diversified quality production, the centralization of bargaining and other forms of “rigid” labor market institutions have become an impediment—rather than an aid—to growth. Hence, employers, faced with increasing pressures to compete in international markets, are increasingly favoring...

  8. Section III. Diverging Institutional Legacies, Ideas, and Social Reform

    • Chapter 8 Social Policy Change “Under the Radar Screen”: Health Care Reforms in Seven Small Countries
      (pp. 179-214)
      Kieke G. H. Okma, Luca Crivelli, Toni Ashton, Iva Bolgani, Tsung-Mei Cheng, David Chinitz, Meng-Kin Lim, Hans Maarse, Rachel Meislin and Tim Tenbensel

      This chapter analyzes the health reform experience in seven small and midsized industrial democracies during the last decades of the twentieth century: Chile, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and Taiwan.¹ The study seeks to contribute to knowledge on cross-national policy through structured multicountry research. In looking at the health reform experiences of seven quite different health care systems, it represents a “most different system comparison” (Marmor 1998) under a common analytical framework.

      At first sight, the seven countries selected for this comparative study do not have much in common. They are located on different continents and vary in...

    • Chapter 9 Humboldt Humbled? The Germanic University System in Comparative Perspective
      (pp. 215-236)
      Ben W. Ansell

      The 1980s were a period of American paeans to the Germanic economic model of high value-added engineering and manufacturing, with much credit given to the vocational system of training developed in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Germanic comparative advantage was seen as deriving from the “German skills machine” (Culpepper and Finegold 1999). However, as the economic fortunes of America and Central Europe reversed during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the rise of technologically driven American sectors driven by a new “creative class” led to a change in the attribution of success (Florida 2004). Now universities are seen as the engines...

    • Chapter 10 Beyond the Welfare State: Consumer Protection and Risk Perceptions in the European Union and Austria
      (pp. 237-260)
      Paulette Kurzer

      In the last twenty years, numerous publications have addressed the issue of risk perception and risk assessment. This literature on risk explores the apparent paradox of citizens who reside in advanced industrialized countries—and therefore enjoy unparalleled prosperity—yet express great anxiety about remote and distant hazards that are believed to threaten society and individual well-being. One of the questions raised in this literature is how citizens assess risk factors with regard to economic forces, technology, or the global system and why some issues become highly politicized while others remain ignored. This chapter looks critically at the case of Austria,...

  9. Conclusion: Ideas and Social Reform
    (pp. 261-268)
    Robert Henry Cox

    The reform histories of Europe’s smaller countries are much like those of other European countries. All have keenly felt the pressures of global economic adjustment. All have tried to respond by cutting back on social programs. All have attempted to balance reforms with a desire to preserve the essential elements of their welfare states. Some have been more successful than others. In many ways, as we noted in the introduction to this volume, the experiences of the smaller democracies are instructive. Because they are small, they are more sensitive to the global pressures than are the larger European countries. For...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 269-274)
  11. Index
    (pp. 275-282)