The Role of International Organizations in Social Policy

The Role of International Organizations in Social Policy

Ideas, Actors and Impact

Edited by Rune Ervik, Nanna Kildal and Even Nilssen

This book considers the role of international organizations and their promotion of ideas and recommendations in social and health policy. It explores a wide range of organizations, scrutinizing their ideas-based content, their role as policy actors and their impact on national policy.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Rune Ervik, Nanna Kildal and Even Nilssen

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Rune Ervik, Nanna Kildal and Even Nilssen In the rapidly growing literature dealing with the impact of globalization and Europeanization on welfare states, the focus has been more on economic and technological forces than on ideational ones. This book addresses this topic by venturing into several kinds of welfare policy themes that have occurred on the political agenda, in the EU, the OECD, the ILO, the WHO, the World Bank and the WTO, but with a major focus on the EU and the OECD. The intention is to examine the content of ideas that the international actors are promoting through recommendations and decrees concerning various systems of social welfare and health policy. A second research topic is to ask if and how these policy ideas might influence national policies. How important are international actors in the shaping of national welfare policy, in which ways do actors on these levels interact and influence each other in different policy areas, and how do the national institutional arrangements of welfare states impact upon these policy processes? The chapters of this book deal variously with these main questions, but a common point of reference is the policy ideas of international and national actors. Currently, many different discourses on welfare policy are present at the national and international levels, where certain normative ideas contain an important part of the vocabulary, for example concepts like ‘dependency’, ‘individual responsibility’, ‘work incentives’, ‘freedom of choice’, ‘normalization’ and so on (Fraser and Gordon 1994; Kildal 2001, 2005; Nilssen 2000,...