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Central Europe in transition: emerging models of welfare and social assistance


  • Cerami, Alfio


This paper discusses the emergence of a new model of welfare and social assistance in Central and Eastern Europe. It starts by briefly summarizing the most recent social policy developments occurring in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia and continues investigating the most urgent reform challenges and adaptational strategies. As argued elsewhere (see Cerami 2006a), the main argument of the paper is that CEECs are moving towards a new world of welfare capitalism, which combines old with new social policy characteristics. A special emphasis in this paper is, however, given to the systems of social assistance, since these represent the last public policy instrument to prevent citizens to fall into extreme poverty. As it will be argued, social assistance schemes did not only play a crucial role in the process of democratic transition cushioning the negative effects of the economic transformation, but they also represent important sources of democratic engineering providing legitimacy to the newly established market-oriented order. A substantial reconsideration in the social policy logic behind their establishment is, however, urgently required.

Suggested Citation

  • Cerami, Alfio, 2008. "Central Europe in transition: emerging models of welfare and social assistance," MPRA Paper 8377, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8377

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandrine Cazes & Alena Nesporova, 2004. "Labour markets in transition: balancing flexibility and security in Central and Eastern Europe," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 91(5), pages 23-54.
    2. Milanovic, Branko, 1995. "Poverty, inequality, and social policy in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1530, The World Bank.
    3. Hemerijck, Anton, 2006. "Recalibrating Europe's semi-sovereign welfare states," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2006-103, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. D. Stark, 1996. "Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 6.
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    Cited by:

    1. Femke Roosma & John Gelissen & Wim Oorschot, 2013. "The Multidimensionality of Welfare State Attitudes: A European Cross-National Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 235-255, August.
    2. repec:sav:ebooks:003 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Central and Eastern Europe; social policy; welfare state; economies in transition; reform challenges; social assistance; welfare regimes;

    JEL classification:

    • P30 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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