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Crisis, structural reform and the dismantling of the European Social Model(s)


  • Hermann, Christoph


Following ECB-president Draghi's remark that the European Social Model does no longer exist and the crisis can only be overcome through a combination of austerity and structural reform, this paper examines the consequences of austerity measures and structural reforms adopted during the crisis in a number of EU member states. The hypothesis is that the juxtaposition of the end of the European Social Model on the one hand, and austerity and structural reform on the other was well chosen. In fact austerity and the structural reforms amount to a veritable attack on the foundations of the European Social Model. The first part of the essay summarizes the discussion on the European Social Model, while the second part describes and compares major austerity measures and structural reforms adopted during the crisis. The third part discusses the impact of the newly established European Economic Governance structure on national economic and social policies. The fourth part deals with the consequences of austerity and structural reform, including for poverty and inequality. The essay ends with some reflections on the role of solidarity and the future of the European Social Model.

Suggested Citation

  • Hermann, Christoph, 2013. "Crisis, structural reform and the dismantling of the European Social Model(s)," IPE Working Papers 26/2013, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ipewps:262013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Grahl & Paul Teague, 2013. "Reconstructing the eurozone: the role of EU social policy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 677-692.
    2. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger & Till van Treeck, 2011. "The European Financial and Economic Crisis: Alternative Solutions from a (Post-) Keynesian Perspective," IMK Working Paper 9-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    3. Voskeritsian, Horen & Kornelakis, Andreas, 2011. "Institutional change in Greek industrial relations in an era of fiscal crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 41758, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2002. "The European Social Model: Coping with the challenges of diversity," MPIfG Working Paper 02/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    5. Jens Alber, 2006. "The European Social Model and the United States," European Union Politics, , vol. 7(3), pages 393-419, September.
    6. André Sapir, 2006. "Globalization and the Reform of European Social Models," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 369-390, June.
    7. Lydia FRAILE, 2009. "Lessons from Latin America's neo-liberal experiment: An overview of labour and social policies since the 1980s," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 148(3), pages 215-233, September.
    8. Hein, Eckhard, 2012. "Finance-dominated capitalism, re-distribution and the financial and economic crises: A European perspective," IPE Working Papers 14/2012, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    9. Damian Grimshaw, 2013. "Austerity, privatization and levelling down: Public sector reforms in the United Kingdom," Chapters,in: Public Sector Shock, chapter 15, pages 576-626 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2011. "Peripheral Europe's debt and German wages: the role of wage policy in the Euro area," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1/2/3), pages 83-96.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonello Scialdone, 2015. "La rete e il trampolino. Indirizzi comunitari in materia di welfare ed investimenti sociali," QUADERNI DI ECONOMIA DEL LAVORO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(103), pages 169-182.
    2. Nina Dodig & Hansjorg Herr, 2015. "EU policies addressing current account imbalances in the EMU: an assessment," Working papers wpaper74, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    3. Herman, Christoph., 2015. "Green new deal and the question of environmental and social justice," ILO Working Papers 994871163402676, International Labour Organization.
    4. Nina Dodig & Hansjörg Herr, 2015. "Current Account Imbalances in the EMU: An Assessment of Official Policy Responses," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 62(2), pages 193-216, June.

    More about this item


    Economic crisis; European Social Model; Austerity; Inequality; Solidarity;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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