Changes in the Welfare Mix: The European Path

  • Ugo Ascoli
  • Costanzo Ranci
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


Between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s a clear change occurred in the orientation of social care policies in almost all the countries of Western Europe. The change arose from the perception of a structural crisis in the previously established mixed model. The main cause of the crisis was identified, in the political rhetoric of the time, in the ‘failure of the state’ to ensure a system of social care adequate to a situation in which social needs were rapidly changing. The crisis was identified at two levels: (1) a financial crisis due to the difficulty in economically sustaining public care programmes in the face of a growing expansion of the demand;1 (2) an organizational crisis, caused by the bureaucratic rigidity and constraints to which public care programmes were subject. Of these two aspects, the first was the most valued: keeping costs down had in fact become the main objective of reform policies of social care systems. Furthermore, the pursuit of this objective seemed to depend inextricably on the possibility of reducing the role and commitment of the state.


Service Provision Social Care Public Administration Social Care Service Social Care System 
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  1. 1.
    The financial crisis was made even more evident in some countries—such as Italy and Spain—by budget constraints imposed by the process of European integration; in other countries, such as Great Britain and Germany, it was mainly due to the growing costs of public programmes in place and due to an increase in the numbers of beneficiaries.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ugo Ascoli
    • 1
  • Costanzo Ranci
    • 2
  1. 1.Facolta di economiaUniversita di AnconaAnconaItaly
  2. 2.DIAPPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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