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Business, regulation and welfare politics in liberal capitalism

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Concerted support from business organisations for increased state welfare provision is unexpected in liberal capitalism, but in Britain this occurred prior to recent major reforms of pensions. Using Mares' micro-theory of employer behaviour and studies of public/private mixes, this article shows that three umbrella organisations of employers and insurers supported higher state pensions because incremental state regulation of non-state provision over many decades and threats about even greater compulsion in the private sector had significantly reduced company control while increasing their costs. As a result, a higher state pension appeared more attractive to all business actors than further regulation of the private sphere. On this basis, we suggest that state regulation should be incorporated more firmly into theories of institutional development and interest formation in liberal regimes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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