Striking deals: Concertation in the reform of continental European welfare states
The reform of the welfare state entails changes in interdependent policy fields stretching from social policies to employment and wage policies. These linked policy fields are often governed by varying sets of corporate actors and involve different decision making procedures. Adaptation in one policy field is often uncoordinated with other policies, and can work at cross-purposes, produce negative externalities, or fail due to missing supporting conditions. The paper has two objectives. It first argues that renewed emergence of tripartite concertation is due to the need to co-ordinate policies across policy fields. Second, it evaluates the institutional factors which have facilitated concertation in some cases, but not in others. Using a similar country design, the paper compares four continental European countries with similar reform pressures but different reform trajectories: France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
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