What Do Parties Want? An Analysis of Programmatic Social Policy Aims in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands
Comparative welfare state research has argued for some time that it makes a difference in regards to the specific welfare state design whether Social Democrats or Christian Democrats are in government. The theory is based on the fact that historically the social policy aims of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats have differed. But can these policy differences still be assumed after almost three decades, which have been characterised by a discourse about necessary welfare state retrenchment, adaptation, and modification? More specifically, in which way have 'new' ideas altered the social and economic policy concepts? We hypothesise that the differences among the two welfare state parties in formerly conservative welfare states have largely faded away. Moreover, we argue that, in the meantime Social Democrats as well as Christian Democrats pursue a more or less common liberal-communitarian approach in welfare state policies in these countries. Our study is based on an in-depth analysis of programmatic approaches by Social Democrats and Christian Democrats in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands since 1975. Based on Christian-Democratic and Social Democratic ideal types, we pay special attention to the development of employment, social security, and family policies.
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- Kittel, Bernhard & Obinger, Herbert, 2002. "Political parties, institutions, and the dynamics of social expenditure in times of austerity," MPIfG Discussion Paper 02/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
- Guger, Alois, 1998. "Economic Policy and Social Democracy: The Austrian Experience," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 40-58, Spring.
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