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Prospects for a European welfare state: Lessons from welfare state development in six OECD-Federations

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  • Obinger, Herbert
  • Leibfried, Stephan
  • Castles, Francis G.

Abstract

This paper uses the findings of a very recent major international research collaboration on the impact of federal arrangements on the development of the welfare state to explore the possibilities of progress beyond Europe's present diversity of nation-state welfare standards. These findings - based on the longterm historical experience of the OECD's oldest federations - suggest that federal arrangements tend to slow down welfare state consolidation, but that much depends on the context of historical development. The emergence of bypass mechanisms circumventing federal veto-points is located as the key to welfare progress, and the role of regulation in European integration and the special role of the ECJ as well as that of "the open method of co-ordination" are tentatively identified as possible EU bypass equivalents.

Suggested Citation

  • Obinger, Herbert & Leibfried, Stephan & Castles, Francis G., 2005. "Prospects for a European welfare state: Lessons from welfare state development in six OECD-Federations," TranState Working Papers 16, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:16
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    1. 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.
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    4. Majone, Giandomenico, 1997. "From the Positive to the Regulatory State: Causes and Consequences of Changes in the Mode of Governance," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 139-167, May.
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    6. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    7. Scharpf, Fritz W., 1999. "Regieren in Europa: Effektiv und demokratisch?," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 0, number sbd-1999.
    8. James S. Mosher & David M. Trubek, 2003. "Alternative Approaches to Governance in the EU: EU Social Policy and the European Employment Strategy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 63-88, March.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:02:p:341-354_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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