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Ways forward for the welfare state in the twenty-first century

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Pressure from the internationalization of economies and the globalization of nationally defined and managed welfare states could be a reason for converging trends in welfare states. On the other hand, it could be a reason for developing a more uniform type of welfare state, since a more uniform type, it could be assumed, would be under less pressure than a number of differing types. This may apply in particular in the case of welfare state models with high emphasis on state .nancing, such as the Scandinavian welfare state model, which, it has been argued, has come under immense pressure from globalization.

According to Geyer, this pressure would imply that: "the welfare states of the advanced industrial countries should become increasingly similar as the forces of globalization squeeze them into a market-oriented welfare-state model. In essence it does not matter whether the national institutional contexts are conservative or social democratic, if the welfare state is conservative, liberal or social democratic; or if a leftist or rightist party is in power, the constraints have become so extreme that only market-conforming welfare-state structures will be allowed." But it also seems that "despite undeniable problems posed by economic internationalisation, social democratic welfare states and employment regimes have proven to be highly resilient." This article will discuss these contradictory viewpoints by way of analysing convergence, especially on the macro-level.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-10-01

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