Innovative Agents versus Immovable Objects. The Role of Ideational Leadership in German Welfare State Reforms
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S.I. : [S.n.]
Number of pages
XIII, 250 p.
RU Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 04 oktober 2007
Promotor : Lieshout, R.H. Co-promotores : Vries, M.S. de, Kersbergen, C.J. van
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Politicologie t/m 2019
SubjectInstitutional Shifts in Government and Governance in a Comparative and International Context
During the 1990's, despite growing pressures for change, the prominent tendency of welfare state scholars was to explain the persistence of welfare state institutions. Among the approaches that identified the mechanisms responsible for the welfare states' resistance to change, historical institutionalism and welfare regime theory played an important role. In their view, powerful institutional and electoral mechanisms, as well as regime-specific characteristics, frustrate policy-makers' efforts to restructure welfare states. Nevertheless, examples of far-reaching or structural reforms have been observed from the late 1990's onwards, in many European countries, including Germany. This study argues that such reforms could not be predicted and cannot be explained by those approaches. Their main weakness seems to be that they fail to pay attention to ideational leadership of influential policy-makers, which, under certain conditions, can overcome institutional obstacles to structural reforms. As the German welfare state is the example par excellence of institutional and political resilience, the unexpected instances of structural reform that occurred here form the empirical context of this study. More specifically, it takes a closer look at reform processes in the area of old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, and health care policy.
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