Journal Article

Social democracy and market reform in Australia and New Zealand

J Quiggin

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 14, issue 1, pages 76-95
Published in print March 1998 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online March 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/14.1.76
Social democracy and market reform in Australia and New Zealand

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Social democratic governments in Australia and New Zealand adopted policies of radical free-market reform, including financial deregulation, privatization, and public-sector reform in the 1980s. Because of the absence of institutional obstacles to government action, reform was faster and more comprehensive in New Zealand than in Australia. The New Zealand reforms were associated with increasing inequality and generally poor economic outcomes. There is nothing in the New Zealand experience to support the view that radical free-market economic policies are consistent with social democratic welfare policies or with social democratic values of concern for the disadvantaged. The Australian reforms were less radical, and were accompanied by some refurbishment of the welfare state. Economic performance did not improve, as anticipated by advocates of reform, but was considerably better than that of New Zealand.

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Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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