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Contextualizing Spanish welfare performance: fellow ‘cohesion countries’ compared

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Abstract:

Spanish social expenditure is assessed in the context of proclaimed ‘Europeanizing’ convergence ambitions and against the wider background of the first four countries who were beneficiaries of the EU Cohesion Fund. Despite variations in policy and funding trajectories, it is argued that the ‘Cohesion’ group of countries represents a more sensitive comparator for Spain than the European Union as a whole. The intervening effects of party politics, economic growth and employment are addressed, as are other socio-demographic ‘need’ factors. The impact of supranational institutional stipulations as represented by the Maastricht convergence criteria for European Monetary Union (EMU) are integrated into the examination of welfare outlays. Finally, there is an attempt to assess social inclusion efforts. Overall, the evidence points not only to a failure of these countries to eradicate their status as the ‘welfare laggards’ of the European Union, but also, in the case of Spain (and, arguably, to a lesser extent, Ireland), to the reinforcement of the gap.

Keywords: EU Cohesion Fund; social convergence; social expenditure; welfare performance

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/ijis.17.3.131/1

Affiliations: London School of Economics and Political Science

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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