Social Europe: Dramatic Visions and Real Complexity
AbstractMany social policy reforms have been carried out in Europe in the last fifteen years. Most of these reforms are marginal. Often they are mutually inconsistent. Yet, something is changing in the European social policy landscape and not in the direction implied by the presence of a 'race to the bottom' in social welfare provision. There are no signs of convergence of social policy models across Europe. Further reforms will have to be respectful of the initial conditions, that is, they necessarily have to adapt to the various Social Europes. By imposing the same pattern of reforms to the different European social policy models there is a high risk of jeopardizing reform efforts altogether. An additional reason for not imposing a single European social policy model is that social policy reforms need to be comprehensive, hence they should necessarily work on country-specific institutional clusters. All this makes a strong case for maintaining EU-level decision-making on social policy reforms under unanimity rule. Majority voting on these issues is likely to involve strong pressures to harmonize institutions, while some countries will always be in a minority. One country may receive the worst of each welfare system and make the furthering and broadening of the scope of reforms even more difficult.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2371.
Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
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