Partisanship, Institutions, and Social Policy

David Rueda

in Social Democracy Inside Out

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216352
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712241 | DOI:
Partisanship, Institutions, and Social Policy

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This chapter examines how the interaction between government partisanship and corporatism affects social policy in Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. It is shown that in a noncorporatist country such as Spain, the policies of the PSOE governments lacked a clear social dimension. ALMPs were considered secondary to other political objectives (such as inflation reduction or labour market flexibilization). In the Netherlands, corporatism promoted much higher levels of social policy, but, as in Spain, the influence of government partisanship was not obvious. The UK case shows that before the 1980s, both parties had engaged in expansive welfare measures. The electoral victory of Margaret Thatcher signaled the beginning of a period in which governments of both parties would limit social policy. It is shown that the Conservative governments of Thatcher and Major pursued policies directed to the retrenchment of the welfare state.

Keywords: government partisanship; corporatism; social policy; PSOE; ALMPs; Spain; Netherlands; UK; welfare policy; Thatcher; Major; welfare state

Chapter.  13693 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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