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Of similarities and divergences : why there is no continental ideal-type of "activation reforms"


  • Jean-Claude Barbier

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Matthias Knuth

    () (Institut für Soziologie - Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften)


In matters of "activation of social protection" as in other policy areas, one would expect that three types of welfare regimes would be identifiable. However, with the hindsight of 20 years of the deployment of "activation strategies", it is still impossible to draw the stylized characters of a "Bismarckian" or " conservative-corporatist" type to compare with the Scandinavian and Liberal ones. In the domain, Germany and France have reformed, each with their own pace and timing, according to their institutional systems, systems of actors and political culture. They have much in common, but also persistent dissimilarities that can be ascribed to their long term history. The empirically detailed survey (from the 1960's) contributes to confirming that a "broad view" comparison leaves aside many crucial explanatory factors. It also shows the limits of an analysis in terms of welfare regimes, when it comes to explaining change and reform. Finally, both societies have implemented policies and reforms that have fostered an amazing fragmentation of situations, a much more complex situation that the simple opposition between "insiders" and "outsiders" is unable to capture, while it postulates a "dualization" of their social protection systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Claude Barbier & Matthias Knuth, 2010. "Of similarities and divergences : why there is no continental ideal-type of "activation reforms"," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00542245, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00542245
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marcel Erlinghagen, 2010. "Mehr Angst vor Arbeitsplatzverlust seit Hartz?: Langfristige Entwicklung der Beschäftigungsunsicherheit in Deutschland," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 279, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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