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Striking deals: Concertation in the reform of continental European welfare states


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  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard
  • Hassel, Anke


The reform of the welfare state entails changes in interdependent policy fields stretching from social policies to employment and wage policies. These linked policy fields are often governed by varying sets of corporate actors and involve different decision making procedures. Adaptation in one policy field is often uncoordinated with other policies, and can work at cross-purposes, produce negative externalities, or fail due to missing supporting conditions. The paper has two objectives. It first argues that renewed emergence of tripartite concertation is due to the need to co-ordinate policies across policy fields. Second, it evaluates the institutional factors which have facilitated concertation in some cases, but not in others. Using a similar country design, the paper compares four continental European countries with similar reform pressures but different reform trajectories: France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. -- Die Reform des Wohlfahrtsstaates erfordert Veränderungen in interdependenten Politikfeldern, von der Sozialpolitik bis hin zur Beschäftigungs- und Lohnpolitik. Diese interdependenten Politikfelder werden von unterschiedlichen Konstellationen korporativer und politischer Akteure kontrolliert und sind unterschiedlichen Verfahren der Entscheidungsfindung unterworfen. Adaptionen in einem Sektor sind häufig nicht mit anderen politischen Entscheidungen koordiniert und können somit negative Auswirkungen haben oder aufgrund der ungünstigen Grundbedingungen fehlschlagen. In dem vorliegenden Discussion Paper wird zunächst argumentiert, daß die Notwendigkeit, politische Entscheidungen über die Grenzen der politischen Sektoren hinaus zu koordinieren, zu einer Renaissance dreiseitiger Konzertierung zwischen Tarifparteien und Regierungen geführt hat. Weiterhin werden die institutionellen Faktoren herausgearbeitet, die eine Konzertierung in einigen Fällen ermöglicht haben, in anderen jedoch nicht. Es werden vier Länder verglichen, die ähnliche Strukturen und Reformzwänge aufweisen, aber unterschiedliche Lösungswege gewählt haben: Frankreich, Deutschland, Italien und die Niederlande.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 99/3.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:p0053

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Cited by:
  1. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard, 2005. "Can Path Dependence Explain Institutional Change? Two Approaches Applied to Welfare State Reform," MPIfG Discussion Paper 05/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  2. Hassel, Anke, 1999. "Bündnisse für Arbeit: Nationale Handlungsfähigkeit im europäischen Regimewettbewerb," MPIfG Discussion Paper 99/5, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  3. Kemmerling, Achim, 2007. "The end of work or work without end? The role of voters' beliefs in shaping policies of early exit," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2007-108, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  4. Streeck, Wolfgang & Trampusch, Christine, 2005. "Economic reform and the political economy of the German welfare state," MPIfG Working Paper 05/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  5. Culpepper, Pepper D., 2000. "The Sources of Policy Innovation: Sub-National Constraints on Negotiated Reform," Working Paper Series rwp00-014, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Eichhorst, Werner & Marx, Paul, 2009. "Reforming German Labor Market Institutions: A Dual Path to Flexibility," IZA Discussion Papers 4100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Eichhorst, Werner, 2007. "The Gradual Transformation of Continental European Labor Markets: France and Germany Compared," IZA Discussion Papers 2675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Trampusch, Christine, 2004. "Sozialpolitik durch Tarifvertrag in den Niederlanden: Die Rolle der industriellen Beziehungen in der Liberalisierung des Wohlfahrtsstaates," MPIfG Discussion Paper 04/12, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  9. Eichhorst, Werner & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "The Interaction of Labor Market Regulation and Labor Market Policies in Welfare State Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 1718, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Eichhorst, Werner, 2006. "Employment Regulation and Labor Market Policy in Germany, 1991-2005," IZA Discussion Papers 2505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Eichhorst, Werner & Wintermann, Ole, 2005. "Generating Legitimacy for Labor Market and Welfare State Reforms: The Role of Policy Advice in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 1845, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Eichhorst, Werner & Kaiser, Lutz C., 2006. "The German Labor Market: Still Adjusting Badly?," IZA Discussion Papers 2215, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Höpner, Martin & Schäfer, Armin (ed.), 2008. "Die Politische Ökonomie der europäischen Integration," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 61, number 61.


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