The Making of Ageing Policy

The Making of Ageing Policy

Theory and Practice in Europe

Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén

Demographic changes transform societies and challenge existing institutional solutions and policies. The need for policies addressing these challenges has increasingly been put on the agenda. The Making of Ageing Policy analyzes these innovative policy ideas and practices at both the international and the national level.

Chapter 7: Catching up with the pioneers – Germany’s new activation compromise

Christof Schiller

Subjects: social policy and sociology, ageing


Ageing is a pressing political issue, not least in Germany. In international rankings, Germany finds itself in the group of countries where the impact of demographic changes looms largest. Indeed, ageing produces massive challenges on various fronts, as I shall show in the following section. Germany occupies a very special position in international welfare state research. Not only is its pioneering historical role in building the welfare state well documented (Alber 1982), but in comparative research it often serves as a proxy for Esping-Andersen’s famous category of a conservative– corporatist welfare state (Arts and Gelissen 2002). The varieties of capitalism (VoC) approach (Hall and Soskice 2001), differentiating two types of political economies – coordinated market economies (CMEs) and liberal market economies (LMEs) – often cites Germany as a prime example of a market economy emphasizing coordination rather than the ‘invisible hand’ of the market.

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