The OECD and European Welfare States
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The OECD and European Welfare States

Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler

The OECD and European Welfare States comprises 14 country studies considering OECD recommendations and their implementation in Western European welfare states, an analysis of the internal processes in the OECD, a theoretical introduction and a concluding comparative chapter. The overall results show a large degree of consistency in OECD analyses and recommendations, though little efficacy is revealed. The authors of this book have compiled a major contribution to the analysis of the impact of international organisations on national welfare states, widening the scope of traditional analyses of national welfare state development.
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Chapter 2: Multilateral surveillance and the OECD: playing the idea game

Martin Marcussen


Martin Marcussen Multilateral surveillance implies that a multitude of state authorities, working together, have agreed to formulate a set of ‘rules of the game’, best practices and norms for appropriate behaviour. It also implies that they have established mechanisms which they can use to ensure that these rules of the game, best practices and norms are actually regulating, constraining or enabling the behaviour of state authorities. To that effect, state authorities have most typically established a formalised institutional structure that by itself, or with the assistance of concerned state authorities, helps enforce the agreed-upon rules. So ‘rules’, ‘enforcement mechanisms’ and ‘enforcement institutions’ all constitute parts of a system of multilateral surveillance (Chayes and Chayes 1993; Raustiala 2000). In terms of content and form, international rules can exist anywhere on a continuum: they could be very simple, formalised, easy-to-understand and unambiguous guidelines for action, or they could be general principles, informal, interpretable and ambiguous discursive codes. The quintessence of multilateral surveillance is that these rules, however their form and content might be defined, have to be enacted. Surveillance does not take place by itself. A sort of compliance ‘pressure’ is always involved to ensure that the individual state authorities deliberately adjust their behaviour in rule-conforming ways (Hurd 1999). The pressure exerted upon state authorities can be based either on a fear of being punished or on a wish to be rewarded. Regulative pressure exists when there are clear and written rules to conform with. In these cases an international enforcement institution...

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