Pro-welfare politics : A model for changes in European welfare states

Abstract: This dissertation explores the changing conditions of European welfare states and the underlying driving forces behind these changes. It is broadly based on the recently emphasized notions of dynamic structuring and internal structure of welfare programs, taking into account the new environment of the welfare state. More specifically, it seeks to uncover the political mechanisms behind the changes in public welfare program structure by examining important driving forces at a macro level, then by relating this to political processes at the micro level. Thus, this dissertation is composed of two parts, i.e., a macro- and a microanalysis of pro-welfare politics.In the macro analysis, the relative explanatory power of core driving forcesbehind welfare efforts is examined using a pooled time series analysis of 12 European countries for the period between 1960 and 1989. In addition to drawing on traditional approaches that emphasize the importance of political driving forces, differences in the roles played by Left party power and Christian party power are examined. The meaning of intergenerational conflict is also examined in the context of welfare program changes.The microanalysis is devoted to uncovering mechanisms of pro-welfare politics by analyzing the complex internal relationships of those pro-welfare politics.This is approached using a theoretical framework of "welfare statuses of rights and duties" as an alternative to the class-based cleavage framework. Also in this second part, Swedish survey data collected in 1995 is analyzed using the LISREL method to check the empirical validity of the suggested framework.The dissertation concludes by suggesting the new notion of welfare rights alliance as a conceptual tool for linking the macro-micro-macro relationships of pro-welfare politics. Building on this, a multi-dimensional model of public welfare change is presented, along with examples of how the preceding discussions and analyses can be understood in the context of the model.

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