The Electoral Consequences of Third Way Welfare State Reforms

The Electoral Consequences of Third Way Welfare State Reforms

By Christoph Arndt
Book Description

In all advanced Western nations, policy-makers have implemented encompassing welfare state reforms in recent decades breaking with past welfare arrangements. In particular, social democracy engaged in significant policy change under the Third Way paradigm and broke with its traditional reputation on welfare that had built the ties with the core constituency in the 20th century. The Electoral Consequences of Third Way Welfare State Reforms: Social Democracy’s Transformation and its Political Costs provides a comparative study of the electoral consequences of Third Way welfare state reforms. The book demonstrates that Third Way reforms went against the social policy preferences of social democracy’s core voters and indeed produced an electoral setback for social democrats at the ballots. Moreover, and accounting for cross-national variation, the analysis shows that the nature of the setback is contingent on the electoral system and the party competition social democrats face when reforming the welfare state.

Dit boek analyseert de electorale gevolgen van de hervormingen in de welvaartsstaat in vier liberaal sociaaldemocratische landen in Europa. Deze zogenaamde ‘Derde Weg-sociaaldemocraten’ hervormden de welvaartsstaat zodanig dat een deel van het sociaaldemocratische electoraat zich definitief van hen afkeerde. Dit is de belangrijkste conclusie van dit boek, waarvoor vergelijkend onderzoek werd verricht in Zweden, Duitsland, Denemarken en Groot-Brittannië.

Table of Contents
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Preface
  • 1 Introduction
    • 1.1 Empirical puzzle
    • 1.2 The arguments in brief
    • 1.3 Structure of the book
  • 2 Theoretical Background
    • 2.1 The political-economic and societal background to Third Way policies
      • Social Democracy’s transformation towards the Third Way
    • 2.2 Social policy and the welfare state as a base for social democratic alignment
    • 2.3 Welfare state reform as a catalyst for partisan dealignment
      • Comparison of traditional social democratic and Third Way social policy
    • 2.4 Decommodifi cation, social class and conceptualising the social democratic core constituency
    • 2.5 Political system, party competition and welfare reforms
      • The impact of the electoral system for the electoral eff ects of thereforms
      • Competitor parties for social democracy after Third Way reformsunder PR
      • Challenge from the left
      • Challenge from the right
      • Credibility considerations and the prospects for challenger parties
      • Mainstream parties as potential challengers
    • 2.6 Social democracy and declining class voting
  • 3 Design and Methods
    • 3.1 Case selection and strategy of comparison
    • 3.2 Analysis of reforms
    • 3.3 Analysis of the electoral consequences of reforms
    • 3.4 Data sources for the statistical analysis
    • 3.5 Organisation of chapters
  • 4 United Kingdom
    • 4.1 The social policy of the Labour Party
    • 4.2 Alignment of the social democratic core constituency in the United Kingdom
    • 4.3 Welfare state reforms in Britain under New Labour, 1997-2005
    • 4.4 Party competition around welfare state reforms, 1997-2005
    • 4.5 Data and variables
    • 4.6 Results
      • Attitudes towards Labour’s policy and voting behaviour after 1997
      • Electoral eff ects of Labour’s policy change, 1997-2001
      • Electoral eff ects of Labour’s policy change, 2001-05
    • 4.7 Conclusion
  • 5 Germany
    • 5.1 The social policy of German social democracy
    • 5.2 Alignment of the social democratic core constituency in Germany
    • 5.3 Welfare state reforms in Germany and their political context, 1998-2009
    • 5.4 Party competition on welfare state reforms in Germany, 1998-2009
    • 5.5 Data and variables
    • 5.6 Results
      • Attitudes towards reform proposals and actual reforms
      • First red-green cabinet, 1998-2002
      • Second red-green cabinet 2002-05
      • The SPD in the Grand Coalition, 2005-09
    • 5.7 Conclusion
  • 6 Denmark
    • 6.1 The social policy of social democracy in Denmark
    • 6.2 The traditional core constituency of Danish social democracy
    • 6.3 The labour market reforms under social democratic governments,1993-2001
    • 6.4 Party competition and welfare state reforms, 1993-2001
    • 6.5 Data and variables
    • 6.6 Results
      • Attitudes towards reform proposals and party choice after 1993
      • Alignment of SD’s core constituency, 1994-98
      • Alignment of SD’s core constituency and breakthrough of the Danish People’s Party, 1998-2001
    • 6.7 Conclusion
  • 7 Sweden
    • 7.1 The Swedish social democratic party and its social policy
    • 7.2 The core constituency of Swedish social democracy
    • 7.3 The Third Road, crisis responses and welfare state reforms in the 1980s and 1990s
    • 7.4 Party competition in Sweden, 1991-2006
    • 7.5 Data
    • 7.6 Analysis
      • Attitudes towards labour market reform proposals and party shares
      • The electoral punishment after the crisis, 1994-98
      • The SAP’s recovery and the Left Party’s setback, 1998-2002
    • 7.7 The SAP’s electoral fortunes in opposition
    • 7.8 Conclusion
  • 8 Comparative Summary
    • 8.1 General expectations and summary of fi ndings
      • The role of the electoral system for the electoral eff ects of the reforms
      • The role of party competition for the electoral eff ects of the reforms
    • 8.2 Discussion of rival explanations
  • 9 Discussion
    • 9.1 Applicability of arguments to other countries
    • 9.2 Contribution to existing literature and political implications
    • 9.3 Implications for future research on social democracy
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A: Appendix to Chapter 4 (United Kingdom)
    • Appendix B: Appendix to Chapter 5 (Germany)
    • Appendix C: Appendix to Chapter 6 (Denmark)
    • Appendix D: Appendix to Chapter 7 (Sweden)
  • Notes
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Theoretical Background
    • 3 Design and Methods
    • 4 United Kingdom
    • 5 Germany
    • 6 Denmark
    • 7 Sweden
    • 8 Comparative Summary
    • 9 Discussion
  • References
  • Index
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