Denmark exemplifies the puzzle of socio-economic success in Scandinavia. Populations are thriving despite the world’s highest levels of tax and generous social benefits. Denmark would appear to be a land of paradise for free-riders and those who want ‘money for nothing’. However, the national personality is characterized both by cooperation in everyday life and the numerous ‘hard-riders’ who make extraordinary contributions. Applying Bourdieuconomics, the authors focus on contemporary case studies to explain how social capital and trust are used to counteract free-riding and enable the flight of the Scandinavian welfare state ‘bumblebee’.
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Explaining the Flight of the Bumblebee
Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen
Society, Markets and Rules
This highly unique book takes a fundamental look at when and how a government can fail at its core responsibility of formulating rules. Government, representing society, relates to the economy by formulating the rules within which (market) players should operate. Although market and business failure are much discussed in the economics literature, government failure is often overlooked. This book addresses this gap, exploring in detail what constitutes government failure.
Learning Liberalism and the Welfare State
The purpose of this book is to reconsider economic liberalism from the viewpoint of political liberalism. The author argues that advocates of economic liberalism largely overlook empirical political preferences which, in many societies, go far beyond a limited role of the state. Recent difficulties of reforming the welfare state provide evidence that political preferences are at odds with liberal economic policy in numerous cases. This fact challenges a political conception which demands a limited state role but also claims that citizens’ preferences ‘as they are’ should determine the content of policies. Using an evolutionary perspective on economic liberalism, the book develops new arguments about how economic liberalism can be brought into line with political liberalism.
The welfare system in the United States underwent profound changes as a result of the groundbreaking welfare legislation passed in 1996 entitled The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The Political Economy of Welfare Reform in the United States examines in detail the legislative process that gave rise to PRWORA and presents two alternative theories to explain this process; the traditional public interest model of government and the public choice model. On the basis of a detailed historical analysis of welfare programs and policies in the US, the author explains the two alternative theories and engages in a detailed institutional and statistical analysis to make a convincing argument for the validity of the public choice paradigm.