Social Partners and the Welfare State: Recalibration, Privatization or Collectivization of Social Risks?

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  • The comparative political economy literature has been inconclusive in its assessment of the extent of welfare state retrenchment. One strand of research emphasised that welfare states have not undergone outright retrenchment, but recalibration. Another strand argued that there is a shift towards the privatization of risks and increased reliance on the market. While these assessments likely represent differences in magnitude, our paper seeks to contribute to these debates with an alternative argument: collectivization of social risks. We employ a method of contextualized comparisons, examining three cases of collectivization across diverse contexts: the financing of disability insurance in the Netherlands, training provision for employed and unemployed in Greece, and regulation of atypical contracts in Italy. The paper concludes by discussing the political dynamic that ensued and the wider relevance of the argument to debates in comparative political economy and comparative industrial relations.
  • Keywords: Trade unions, Contextualized comparisons, Welfare State
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  • Johnston, A., Kornelakis, A., & d'Acri, C. (2011). Social partners and the welfare state: Recalibration, privatization or collectivization of social risks? European Journal of Industrial Relations, 17(4), 349-364. doi: 10.1177/0959680111420554
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  • 17
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  • 4
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  • Work on this project was financially supported by the Reconciling Work and Welfare (RECWOWE) network.
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