Do Parties Still Matter in Protecting the Unemployed? A Contextualized Comparison of Great Britain, Sweden and Germany
6th ECPR General Conference, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, 25th-27th August 2011
29 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2014
Date Written: August 1, 2011
This paper argues that a more contextualized approach is necessary to shed a brighter light on the question of party convergence in social policy making. Such a contextualized comparison not only considers different political-institutional settings, it also accounts for country-specific differences in the structure and generosity of existing welfare programs and party legacies. Thereby, it is possible to identify differing issues at the heart of the left-right conflict in the same policy area within different countries. Comparing changes in these nominally different but analytically equivalent issues under the influence of increasing external pressures promises insights not obtainable by customary ‘matched comparisons’. Empirically, the paper concentrates on party struggles over unemployment protection systems in Great Britain, Sweden and Germany.
Keywords: Welfare Institutions, Unemployment Insurance, Partisan Politics, Contextualized Comparison
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