Drivers for change

Authored by: Virginie Guiraudon , Claude Martin

Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138631649
eBook ISBN: 9781315207049
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the late twentieth century, European and North American scholars have mainly focused on welfare state retrenchment or “restructuring,” especially since Paul Pierson’s Dismantling the Welfare State (1994). This book on reforms that were unpopular emphasized that welfare states were “immovable or resistant objects.” Nevertheless, welfare states have in fact changed drastically, whether through potential path-departing procedures and/or incremental change (Thelen, 2004; Streeck and Thelen, 2005). Jacob Hacker’s contribution to these debates focused on “policy drift” (2004). He argued that the lack of actual reform given demographic evolution and economic transformations should be considered as a major form of change masked by apparent inertia.

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