Continental Western Europe

Bruno Palier

in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579396
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Continental Western Europe

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This article investigates the commonalities and transformations of a specific type of welfare system. It concentrates on the origins of these systems, the main goals they tried to achieve through their historical development and the specific principles on which they rely. It also describes their institutional traits and complementarities with certain forms of industrial capitalism during their golden age. The specificities of the crises these systems are facing are explored. The various sequences of welfare reform that have led these systems to adopt structural reforms are then elaborated. The conclusion focuses on the dualization processes that characterize the main changes of Bismarckian welfare systems. The recent reforms have led in multiple dualizations: the development of two worlds of welfare within the public system; the addition of a private component to the public one; and the division of the population between insured insiders and assisted or activated outsiders.

Keywords: Bismarckian welfare systems; Western Europe; industrial capitalism; welfare reform; structural reforms; dualization

Article.  6772 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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