Falling Back on Old Habits? A Comparison of the Social and Unemployment Crisis Reactive Policy Strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden

Date: 16 June 2011

Although long-term processes of welfare state development have been investigated frequently, there is a surprising gap in knowledge on short-term reactions of states to sudden events. This article aims to fill this gap by examining the reactive policies, i.e. immediate policy responses to urgent social matters, of governments to the current economic crisis. We focus on social and unemployment policies of the three welfare regime ideal types of Esping-Andersen's typology, namely Germany, the UK and Sweden. We apply long-term policy development theories, most notably the convergence and path dependence theories, to understand the choices made in the different reactive policy strategies of these countries. In addition, we scrutinize whether we find similarities between the reactive policies and the converging structural welfare state developments.

Stefan Thewissen Heejung Chung

Employment, Equity and Growth

Falling Back on Old Habits? A Comparison of the Social and Unemployment Crisis Reactive Policy Strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden


Type: paper

Chung, H. and Thewissen, S. (2011) 'Falling back on old habits? A comparison of the social and unemployment crisis reactive policy strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden'. Social Policy & Administration 45: 4 354–370


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