Ideational leadership and structural policy change: comparing German welfare state reforms
London, UK : Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science
InCapano, G.; Howlett, M. (ed.), European and North American Policy Change: Drivers and Dynamics, pp. 170-194
Part of book or chapter of book
Display more detailsDisplay less details
Capano, G.; Howlett, M. (ed.), European and North American Policy Change: Drivers and Dynamics
SubjectInstitutional Shifts in Government and Governance in a Comparative and International Context
This chapter aims to explain significant policy change in the context of highly change-resistant welfare states. Dominant institutional theories of welfare state politics predict that welfare states are extremely stable constructs. Despite such claims, the German welfare state, being the prototype of such stability, has undergone a number of structural reforms in recent years. I argue that ideational leadership (IL) is able to account for such reforms in status-quo oriented welfare states by changing preferences of actors who formerly opposed far-reaching reforms and breaking through institutional lock-in mechanisms. Evidence from a comparative case study of German welfare state reforms shows that policy-makers indeed displayed ideational leadership, while they also made concessions to overcome political-institutional obstacles. The findings suggest that the politics of transforming welfare states differs from the politics of retrenching welfare states. Furthermore, the concepts introduced enhance current theorizing on policy change.
Upload full text
Use your RU credentials (u/z-number and password) tolog in with SURFconextto upload a file for processing by the repository team.