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Discourse, learning and welfare state change: the case of German labour market reforms

By Martin Seeleib-Kaiser and Timo Fleckenstein


In this article we argue that Germany has significantly changed its approach to labour market policies (LMPs) during the past decade; in many instances Britain has served as a model to learn from. In a first step, we identify the core institutional arrangements of the conservative approach to LMP in Germany and contrast them with the liberal approach, using the UK as an example. Secondly, we trace the development and nature of changes in German LMP since the 1990s. We show that the policy has increasingly incorporated elements of, and to a considerable extent shifted towards, a liberal approach. Thirdly, we review competing theoretical approaches that might explain this turn in LMP and conclude that changed interpretative patterns have been crucial to understand the overall shift. Fourthly, utilizing the policy transfer framework, we show that in regards to the specific policy instruments German policy-makers have learnt from the experiences in the UK

Topics: DD Germany, HC Economic History and Conditions, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology, JN Political institutions (Europe)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2007.00566.x
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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