The European Social Model in Crisis

The European Social Model in Crisis

Is Europe Losing Its Soul?

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

This is the first book to provide a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the impact of the crisis and austerity policies on all elements of the European Social Model. This book assesses the situation in each individual EU member state on the basis of detailed empirical evidence and concrete case studies.

Chapter 4: The German welfare state: From an inclusive to an exclusive Bismarckian model

Gerhard Bosch

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


In comparative research on welfare states, the German social model is regarded as the archetype of the conservative welfare state, which seeks, through its social security arrangements, to maintain differences in status and to support traditional family forms with a single male breadwinner (Esping-Andersen 1990). In contrast to the predominantly tax-funded, universalist, Scandinavian social model, it is more strongly based on social insurance schemes that, in the Bismarckian tradition, provide cover only for dependent employees. Thus access to insurance benefits, as well as their level and quality, depend on a worker’s position in the labour market. Wives and children are insured through the gainfully employed husband, and self-employed workers are dependent either on occupational insurance systems, which are found mainly in the liberal professions (medicine, law and so on) with their own regulatory bodies, or on self-provision, the family or basic social protection.

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