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The viability of advanced welfare states in the international economy : vulnerabilities and options

Die Überlebensfähigkeit hochentwickelter Wohlfahrtsstaaten in der internationalen Wirtschaft: Schwachstellen und Optionen
[working paper]

Scharpf, Fritz W.

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Corporate Editor Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung
Abstract "The paper represents a preliminary and partial analysis of the information collected in a comparative 12-country study of the adjustment of national employment and social-welfare policies to the increasing internationalization of product and capital markets. After the postwar decades, when national governments were still able to control their economic boundaries, the first international challenge came in the form of the oil-price crisis of 1973/74, which confronted industrial economies with the double threat of cost-push inflation and demand-gap unemployment. It could be met if countries were able to achieve a form of 'Keynesian concertation' in which expansionary monetary and fiscal policies would defend employment while union wage restraint could be relied on to fight inflation. For this solution, 'corporatist' industrial-relations institutions were a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Since the second oil-price crisis of 1979-80 was met by restrictive monetary and expansionary fiscal policies in the United States, the steep increase of real interest rates in the international capital markets forced other central banks to raise interest rates accordingly. As a consequence, employment-creating investments could only be maintained if the share of profits in the national product was significantly increased. Under the pressure of rapidly rising unemployment, unions in most countries were forced to accept this massive redistribution from labor to capital. In the 1990s, finally, the international integration of product and capital markets has been constraining private sector employment as well as the financial viability of the welfare state. But now institutional differences among different types of revenue systems, welfare states and employment systems - Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, and Continental - create important differences in vulnerability that can no longer be met by standardized responses. The paper concludes with an examination of the specific problems faced by, and the solutions available to, the different countries included in the study." (author's abstract)

Gegenstand der Untersuchung sind Anpassungsprozesse der Beschäftigungs- und Sozialpolitik in zwölf Staaten an die zunehmende Internationalisierung der Produkt- und Kapitalmärkte. Der erste exogene Schock in der Ära seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg kam mit der Ölpreiskrise der Jahre 1973/74, auf die die Industriestaaten mit keynesianischer Konzertierung reagieren konnten. Die zweite Ölpreiskrise der Jahre 1979/80 führte aufgrund der Reaktion in den USA zu einer massiven Umverteilung des Wohlstands vom Faktor Arbeit zum Faktor Kapital. Die internationale Integration der Produkt- und Kapitalmärkte in den 90er Jahren wirkte sich negativ auf die private Beschäftigungsentwicklung und die finanzielle Situation der Wohlfahrtsstaaten aus. Institutionelle Differenzen zwischen dem skandinavischen, dem angelsächsischen und dem kontinentalen Typ des Wohlfahrtsstaats verbieten jedoch heute standardisierte Antworten. Die Studie schließt mit einem Überblick über Probleme und Lösungen in den einzelnen Staaten, die Gegenstand der Untersuchung waren. (ICEÜbers)
Keywords welfare state; social welfare state; internationalization; globalization; Europe; United States of America; employment policy; social policy; Scandinavia; North America
Classification National Economy; Economic Policy; Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Social Policy
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 1999
City Köln
Page/Pages 31 p.
Series MPIfG Working Paper, 99/9
ISSN 1864-4333
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne