The OECD and European Welfare States

The OECD and European Welfare States

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler

The OECD and European Welfare States comprises 14 country studies considering OECD recommendations and their implementation in Western European welfare states, an analysis of the internal processes in the OECD, a theoretical introduction and a concluding comparative chapter. The overall results show a large degree of consistency in OECD analyses and recommendations, though little efficacy is revealed. The authors of this book have compiled a major contribution to the analysis of the impact of international organisations on national welfare states, widening the scope of traditional analyses of national welfare state development.

Chapter 14: The OECD and the reformulation of Spanish social policy: a combined search for expansion and rationalisation

Santiago Álvarez and Ana M Guillén

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, welfare states


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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