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The Politics and Political Economy of Social Democracy

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This review essay discusses a large variety of recent studies of social democracy. Much of the literature is characterized by a certain amount of politicization. This may affect the sort of questions posed. It may also negatively impinge on the quality of scholarly analysis. Particularly, the debate on the ‘Third Way’ and New Labour in the United Kingdom seems to suffer from the latter drawback. This problem is much less pronounced in the political economy literature. Favouring social democracy as a research topic is explained by the fact that it offers a suitable and legitimate way to devise and test political science theories on the impact of politics on social and economic policies and politics. The political economy literature challenges theoretically and empirically the thesis that globalization undermines the possibility of successful political intervention and attempts to show that social democratic politics still matters.Acta Politica (2003) 38, 255–273. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500032

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1Department of Political Science, DBL 859, De Boelelaan 1081-c, Vrije Universiteit, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Email:

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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