Blame Avoidance and Credit Claiming Revisited

Giuliano Bonoli

in The Politics of the New Welfare State

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645244
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745119 | DOI:
Blame Avoidance and Credit Claiming Revisited

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This chapter deals with some developments observed in European social polices over the last fifteen years that are not explained by prevailing theories of social policymaking. These can be considered as ‘anomalies’ and include the expansion of new policies (childcare, active labour market policy) and the adoption of radical reforms in the field of old age pensions. In order to account for these developments, the chapter proposes a new reading of the twin notion of ‘blame avoidance’ and ‘credit claiming’ that allows us to make sense of the observed developments. It highlights the importance of the visibility of reform and introduces the notion of affordable credit claiming as an objective that is not incompatible with a climate of permanent austerity, but that can be fulfilled only within given policy fields.

Keywords: welfare reform; credit claiming; blame avoidance; Paul Pierson; Kent Weaver; anomalies

Chapter.  7599 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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