Striking deals: concertation in the reform of continental European welfare states

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Series Details Volume 7, 1, Pages 44-62
Publication Date March 2000
ISSN 1350-1763
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The reform of the welfare state entails changes in interdependent policy fields stretching from social policies to employment and wage policies. These linked policy fields are often governed by varying sets of corporate actors and involve different decision-making procedures. Adaptation in one policy field is often unco-ordinated with other policies, and can work at cross-purposes, produce negative externalities, or fail owing to the lack of supporting conditions.

The article has two objectives. First, it argues that the renewed emergence of tripartite concertation is due to the need to co-ordinate policies across policy fields. Second, it evaluates the institutional factors which have facilitated concertation in some cases, but not in others. Using a similar country design, the article compares four continental European countries with similar reform pressures but different reform trajectories: France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

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