The Politics of Welfare State Reform
SourceSchweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft = Revue Suisse de Science Politique = Swiss Political Science Review, 8, 2, (2002), pp. 1-19
Article / Letter to editor
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Nationale politieke stelsels, ihb het Ned pol stel
Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft = Revue Suisse de Science Politique = Swiss Political Science Review
SubjectInstitutional Shifts in Government and Governance in a Comparative and International Context
This article presents and discusses the state of the art in political science research on welfare state reform. While scholars first aimed at explaining the emergence and growth of the welfare state, national variation in its development, and crises of welfare state regimes, more recently the focus has shifted to the persistence and reform of the major welfare state institutions. Research in this direction has typically adopted an institutionalist perspective, stressing how institutional settings affect the feasibility and direction of reforms. These studies have shed light on important aspects of the question, in particular by demonstrating the role of path dependency and veto players in reform processes, but suffer from two main problems, namely the difficulty of defining the dependent variable in an appropriate way, and the neglect of the importance of power resources.
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