Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler
Chapter 14: The OECD and the reformulation of Spanish social policy: a combined search for expansion and rationalisation
Santiago Álvarez and Ana M. Guillén INSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT The Spanish welfare state was created in 1900 with the passing of a law that established employers’ liability for labour accidents. In 1906, a National Institute for Social Provision was created with the aim of fostering voluntary insurance among low-income workers. However, little advancement was made until the Second Republic (1931–36), when the introduction of compulsory insurance for health care, retirement pensions and invalidity was proposed. The Civil War broke out before the legal reform could be passed, so that it wasn’t until the mid-1940s that compulsory insurance for low-income industrial workers became a reality. The system expanded throughout the 1960s and early 1970s by incorporating more and more categories of workers. Especially after 1967, when the Basic Law of Social Security (passed in 1963) began to be implemented, the social protection system was broadened significantly, following a conservative model. By 1975, over 80 per cent of the Spanish population had access to public health care. Nonetheless, some aspects of social policy, such as unemployment subsidies, non-contributory benefits and care services remained clearly underdeveloped. Division of gender roles under the authoritarian regime was very strict, so that the breadwinner model was applied to its full extent. The care of children, the elderly and disabled people was placed in the hands of women in the domestic sphere. Thus, female participation in the labour market and the development of public care services was delayed. Such was the situation when the...
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