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Czech Social Reform/Non-reform: Routes, Actors and Problems


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  • Jiri Vecernik



In this contribution, the author first considers the characteristics of the Czechoslovak communist welfare state and its theoretical alternatives. Throughout the reform process, dependency on both corporatist and socialist regimes won out, while residualist efforts were promoted in the beginning, but were later held back. The author then considers the possible actors involved in social reforms. In this respect, when proceeding from a general to a more concrete level, thought should first be devoted to the social classes and their ideologies, and second to political parties and their leaders. The author goes on to summarise the particular problems and traps in individual sections of the Czech social system. While no objection to decent standards of social protection and health care could be raised, the poor efficiency of their achievement should evoke concern. The author concludes by reflecting on the possible specificities of Czech social reform in comparison with the other countries undergoing reform and the EU. The current lethargy of the Czech welfare system corresponds to a “frozen edifice”, just as in most Western countries. However, such stagnation is apparently acceptable to both the politicians (who mask it in reformist rhetoric) and the population (which learned to master taking advantage of the generous welfare state) and thus is basically sustainable in the long run.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 2004-651.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-651

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Keywords: social policy; social reforms; Czech Republic;

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  1. János Kornai, 1994. "Highway and Byways: Studies on Reform and Postcommunist Transition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262111985, December.
  2. Easterly, William, 2000. "the middle class consensus and economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2346, The World Bank.
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