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Welfare State Retrenchment: The Partisan Effect Revisited

  • Amable, Bruno

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Gatti, Donatella

    ()

    (University of Paris 13)

  • Schumacher, Jan

    ()

    (University of Mainz)

This paper aims to shed light on the role of the 'ideology' of political parties in shaping the evolution of the welfare state in 18 developed democracies, by providing empirical findings on the determinants of social programs entitlements and social spending over the period 1981-1999. The paper shows that structural change is a major determinant of the extent of social protection. Our results suggest that overall spending is driven up by structural change. On the other hand, strong structural change has a negative influence on welfare entitlements measured by net replacement rates of sickness insurance or unemployment benefits. Partisan influence plays an important role in the dynamics of the welfare state. Left-wing governments strengthen the positive effect of shocks on aggregate social expenditure while right-wing governments undertake even stronger cutbacks in replacement rates as a reaction to structural change.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1995.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2006, 22 (3), 426-444
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1995
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the US Have a European-Style Welfare System?," NBER Working Papers 8524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The size and scope of government:: Comparative politics with rational politicians," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 699-735, April.
  5. Katharine G. Abraham & Lawrence F. Katz, 1984. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," NBER Working Papers 1410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  8. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "How Do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions, and Economic Policies?," NBER Working Papers 10176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  10. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," NBER Working Papers 5537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. A. B. Atkinson, 1999. "The Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011719, June.
  13. Boeri, Tito & Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2000. "Regulation And Labour Market Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2420, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  15. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147, March.
  16. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems And Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657, May.
  17. Torben M. Andersen, 2003. "European integration and the welfare state," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-19, 02.
  18. Braumoeller, Bear F., 2004. "Hypothesis Testing and Multiplicative Interaction Terms," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(04), pages 807-820, October.
  19. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't The US Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1933, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  20. Bruno Amable & Donatella Gatti, 2005. "The political economy of job protection and income redistribution," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590841, HAL.
  21. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
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