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Policy Change in the Canadian Welfare State: Comparing the Canada Pension Plan and Unemployment Insurance

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  • Daniel Béland
  • John Myles
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    Abstract

    Focusing on Canada, this paper explores the politics of social policy retrenchment and restructuring in two policy areas: old-age pensions, especially the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and Employment Insurance (EI) [formerly Unemployment Insurance (UI)]. Drawing on historical institutionalism and the literature on ideas and policy change, the paper explains key differences between these two policy areas. The analysis shows that institutional factors like federalism explain some of the differences between the policy areas and programs at stake. Yet, to complement this analysis, the paper also highlights the political consequences of changing ideas and assumptions among policy-makers, which vary strongly from one program to another. In other words, ideational and institutional factors combined to produce distinct patterns of policy change. Overall, the paper suggests that scholars can draw a clear analytical line between ideational and institutional factors before combining them to explain specific episodes of policy change. From a methodological standpoint, the paper also demonstrates the added value of systematic comparisons between distinct policy areas located within the same country.

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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap235.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 235.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:235

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    Keywords: Ideas; institutions; unemployment; pensions; Canada;

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    1. Parsons, Craig, 2002. "Showing Ideas as Causes: The Origins of the European Union," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 47-84, December.
    2. Lin, Zhengxi, 1998. "Employment Insurance in Canada: Recent Trends and Policy Changes," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998125e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Esping-Andersen, Gosta (ed.), 2002. "Why We Need a New Welfare State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199256433.
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