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The Four ‘Social Europes’: Between Universalism and Selectivity

  • Maurizio Ferrera

Abstract

In recent years the theme of ‘convergence’ of the social policies of western countries has gained a pre-eminent position in political and academic debates. It is not difficult to understand the reasons for this new interest. The literature on the crisis of welfare has amply revealed the similarity of the challenges that each country faces. These challenges are of an endogenous nature (like demographic changes or changes in the labour market), as well as of an exogenous nature (the so-called globalization of markets). If the challenges are analogous, it is natural to expect that the policy responses are, to a large extent, the same. Such an expectation should not necessarily depend on functionalist assumptions (common challenges of adaptation produce ‘equivalent’ responses). For it can also be based on the recognition that — at least within the OECD area — policy innovation occurs on the basis of increasingly swift and intense processes of diffusion and imitation among countries, via learning and lesson-drawing on an international scale (Rose, 1991).

Keywords

Welfare State Welfare System Social Protection Unemployment Insurance Welfare Reform 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio Ferrera

There are no affiliations available

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