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 15: Mutual admiration? OECD advise to the UK

Nick Manning


15. Mutual admiration? OECD advice to the UK Nick Manning INSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT The British welfare state took shape in two bursts of legislation, initially under the liberal government of 1906–11, and then under the post-war labour government between 1946 and 1948. Often characterised as exhibiting the ‘Beveridge model’, after William Beveridge’s famous and at the time bestselling, 1942 report on Social Insurance and Allied Services, there were in fact rather mixed models buried within the overall system. The National Health Service (NHS) was central government provided, free at the point of consumption, of a classical ‘command and control’ type. Income security however was through compulsory national insurance – a mixture of graded contributions and relatively meagre flat rate benefits; while education was explicitly elitist, in which working-class children were channelled into inferior schools, and universities were reserved for a privileged elite. Insurance in the continental style was never a part of the system, which contained a mixture of socialist and elitist elements. In Esping-Andersen’s (1990) terms the British case was mixed: education was conservative; health care was social democratic; and income security, while universal in coverage, was paid at very low rates – a kind of mean-spirited social democracy. Since the 1950s, this mixed system has evolved, but yet again not in a uniform direction. Up until the 1973 oil crisis, state social expenditure grew slowly, and social democratic elements evolved further, particularly the reorganisation of schools into a less elitist system. However, state expenditure was never generous, and...

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