The 'Hartz legislation' of 2003/04, which restructured the benefit and administrative system for the long-term unemployed in Germany, is commonly ascribed to the recommendations made by the Hartz Commission and the political leadership of Chancellor Schröder. These aspects have been crucial politically in policy making, but are insufficient to fully explain this legislation. Here it is argued that the Hartz Commission was largely insignificant in Policy formulation instead learning prior to the Commission located in an expert forum by the Bertelsmann Foundation as well as a Ministry of Labour project group explains the direction and content of this reform. The case of the Hartz legislation, whereby the 'frozen welfare state' of Germany critically departed from its conservative path, provides strong support for the significance of learning in major social policy reforms
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