Under Pressure: Argumentative Patterns of Pressures and Opportunities for Welfare State Reforms in Three Affluent Welfare States

39 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2013 Last revised: 15 Jun 2016

Achim Goerres

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science

Rune Karlsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Staffan Kumlin

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science; Institute for Social Research, Norway

Date Written: June 14, 2016

Abstract

Do political leaders actively put welfare state “reform pressures,” such as mass unemployment or population ageing, on the public agenda at the outset of election campaigns? Do politicians publicly couple these pressures with related policy solutions, such as retrenchment, cost containment, social investment or a defence of the status quo? We analyse 18 speeches held by prime ministerial candidates at the party congresses before national elections in Germany, Norway and Sweden (2000-2010). Even in these three affluent and comparatively sustainable, welfare states, reform pressures are frequently put on the public agenda. Party leaders either concentrate on more popular, less painful, policy solutions and aspects of ongoing welfare state reform. Or, they refrain altogether from connecting pressures with policy. While citizens are exposed to the basic idea that the welfare state is under pressure, they are not exposed to the full range of policies to expect after elections.

Keywords: welfare state, Germany, Norway, Sweden, parties, reforms, content analysis, speeches, content analysis

Suggested Citation

Goerres, Achim and Karlsen, Rune and Kumlin, Staffan, Under Pressure: Argumentative Patterns of Pressures and Opportunities for Welfare State Reforms in Three Affluent Welfare States (June 14, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2330897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2330897

Achim Goerres (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 65
Duisburg, D-47057
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.achimgoerres.de

Rune Karlsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

Moltke Moesvei 31
Olso, 0851
Norway

Staffan Kumlin

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 1097
Blindern
Oslo, 0317
Norway

Institute for Social Research, Norway ( email )

PO Box 3233 Elisenberg
Oslo, 0208
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://socialresearch.no

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