Some have argued that the concept of the modern welfare state has been in crisis since at least the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Today, one rarely engages in a discussion of welfare states without encountering such terms as recalibrate , recast , dismantle or restructure . Yet until the recent global financial crisis, the welfare states of many countries were relatively stable or even expanding. The Times They Are Changing? presents a series of readings that critically examine whether the recent financial crisis will have short–lived implications for welfare states or will usher in a new era of substantial reform and retrenchment of social policies in welfare states around the world. Contributors include policy researchers and academics from several countries in Western Europe, as well as the South Pacific and the USA. Various national and regional case studies reveal the profound impact the financial crisis is having on policies implemented by welfare states as well as on our perceptions of the welfare state as a concept. The Times They Are Changing? offers revelatory insights into the current global financial crisis and its long–term implications for the role of the state in the social well–being of its citizens.
1 To What Extent Did the Financial Crisis Intensify the Pressure to Reform the Welfare State? 7Barbara Vis, Kees van Kersbergen and Thomas H. Hylands
2 Falling Back on Old Habits? A Comparison of the Social and Unemployment Crisis Reactive Policy Strategies in Germany, the UK and Sweden 23Heejung Chung and Stefan Thewissen
3 The Impact of the Crisis on Australian Social Security Policy in Historical Perspective 41Peter Saunders and Chris Deeming
4 US Social Policy in the 21st Century: The Difficulties of Comprehensive Social Reform 59Anne Daguerre
5 Economic Crisis and Welfare Retrenchment: Comparing Irish Policy Responses in the 1970s and 1980s with the Present 79Fiona Dukelow
6 Crisis and Welfare State Change in the Netherlands 101Mara Yerkes and Romke van der Veen
7 Explaining Welfare Reforms in Italy between Economy and Politics: External Constraints and Endogenous Dynamics 117Franca Maino and Stefano Neri
8 The Economic Crisis as a Trigger of Convergence? Short–time Work in Italy, Germany and Austria 137Stefano Sacchi, Federico Pancaldi and Claudia Arisi
9 Health Care Policy for Better or for Worse? Examining NHS Reforms During Times of Economic Crisis versus Relative Stability 161Lorraine Frisina Doetter and Ralf Götze
Bent Greve is Professor in Social Science with an emphasis on Welfare State Analysis at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is the regional and special issues editor of the journal Social Policy & Administration and has published extensively on social and labour market policy, social security, tax expenditures, public sector expenditures and financing of the welfare state.