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 7: Policy Actors, Ideas and Power: EU and OECD Pension Policy

Rune Ervik

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


recommendations and national policies in Norway and the UK Rune Ervik INTRODUCTION This chapter will explore the role played by the OECD and the EU in shaping the central ideas of national pension reforms through an interactional and relational process with member states. In addition, important bilateral (and multilateral) exchanges of ideas between countries, taking place outside the realms of these international organizations, are scrutinized. Focus will be on specific key actors within the EU and the OECD which are involved in explicit pension policy advice and recommendations, rather than taking account of all possible actors across different policy areas that might influence pensions some way or another. The following questions will be addressed: What are the leading ideas and core paradigms of these key policy actors? How are their ideas internally institutionalized and empowered, and how does that enhance or inhibit their ability to influence? How do these policy groups relate to national actors and reform policies in pensions? Do we find bilateral or multilateral exchange of reform ideas that are considered to be of importance to national policy makers? Finally, do these discourses and ideas influence national policies? To scrutinize these issues, this chapter draws mainly on insights gleaned from the literature on ideas and their impact on policies (Blyth 2002; Campbell 2002; Hall 1989, 1993; Schmidt 2002), but also from the pension politics and reform literature (Clasen 2005; Immergut, Anderson and Schulze 2007). The empirical sources of the chapter consist of semi-structured interviews conducted with key actors...

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