One of the most important elements in the ‘Austrian Model’ is the system of Social Partnership which came into being in the 1950s and has survived all the political and economic changes that have occurred since. To some, on both sides of industry, the system involves too much compromise in the interests of consensus. Yet, for the majority it is the most durable and successful part of the ‘Austrian Model’. It is the economic counterpart of the political ‘Grand Coalition’ and the proporz system. The Social Partnership is a para-coalition, which parallels the party coalition at the political level. To go further, the system of Social Partnership has been the cement of the political consensus and has played an important rôle in maintaining the essentials of consensus, even during the periods of one-party government or ‘small coalition’ government. Thus, the ÖVP government (1966–70) and the SPÖ or SPÖ-led governments (1970–87) took no measures which would undermine the system of Social Partnership. On the contrary, they saw it as an important stabilising mechanism, especially during the one-party rule periods.
KeywordsAustrian Economy Joint Commission Grand Coalition Social Partner Political Parti
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