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New Social Policy Ideas in the Making: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe


  • Cerami, Alfio


Central and Eastern European countries have experienced a rapid transformation of their economic, political and welfare regime(s). From a state-paternalist welfare state, post-communist countries are now moving towards something new. A shift in the main social policy paradigm is, in fact, taking place: from central-planning to market-based welfare provisions, from public to private responsibility, from universal and flat-rate to insurance-based and contributions-related benefits. Most of these changes seem to be clearly paradigmatic, although it has still to be asked where the post-1989 social policy discourse originated. This paper aims to address this issue, by exploring the introduction of new social policy ideas in Central and Eastern Europe. The first section clarifies the difference between old and new social policy ideas within the specific context of Central and Eastern Europe. The second section provides a brief overview of the main changes in pension, health care and unemployment benefits, while the third section briefly summarizes the results. The main argument of the paper is that policy makers in the region have combined old with new social policy ideas in order to make the new welfare arrangement sustainable to internal and external pressures. In other words, they recasted the welfare state from within.

Suggested Citation

  • Cerami, Alfio, 2006. "New Social Policy Ideas in the Making: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe," MPRA Paper 8482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8482

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schludi, Martin, 2005. "The Reform of Bismarckian Pension Systems," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9789053567401, April.
    2. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
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    More about this item


    Central and Eastern Europe; social policy; welfare state; welfare regime; transition economies;

    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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