Solidarity or Dualization?

Daniel Clegg

in The Age of Dualization

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199797899
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933488 | DOI:

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

Solidarity or Dualization?

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Despite being considered to have rather similar political economies, patterns of unemployment benefit adjustment were different in Belgium and France in the 1980s and 1990s. In France the unemployment insurance system retained generous earnings-related benefits but became increasingly exclusive, with many unemployed people thus being forced to rely on institutionally distinct second-tier benefit schemes. In Belgium, by contrast, unemployment protection remained integrated and inclusive, but gradually mutated into a flat-rate benefit system providing only basic protection. This chapter explores the political dynamics behind the contrasting institutional and distributive choices in the unemployment benefit reforms of these two otherwise similar countries, in the process shedding light on the politics of welfare state dualization more generally. It suggests that the inherited institutional features of welfare systems structure the preferences of key social and political actors in ways that are likely to generate diverse social policy responses to common economic and social challenges.

Keywords: belgium; france; unemployment protection; parametric reform; social governance; trade unions; organizational interests; policy preferences

Chapter.  10498 words.  Illustrated.

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