Fighting Working Poverty in Post-industrial Economies
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Fighting Working Poverty in Post-industrial Economies

Causes, Trade-offs and Policy Solutions

Eric Crettaz

This thought-provoking book provides an in-depth analysis of the working poor phenomenon and its causes across welfare regimes, and identifies the most efficient policy mixes and best practices that could be utilized to resolve this problem.
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Chapter 5: The Real World of Social Policies: The Welfare Regime Approach

Eric Crettaz


In the real world of social policy, the instruments I present and metaanalyse separately, for the sake of analytical clarity, interact with each other. Moreover, not all possible combinations of these tools are found in post-industrial economies. Hence, a systemic approach is requested and I briefly analyse which of the existing welfare regime typologies found in the literature seems to be appropriate for the analysis of poverty among workers. There is disagreement among sociologists and political scientists (Bonoli, 1997): Esping-Andersen’s typology (1990) has been criticized, either from a feminist perspective or because other indicators were suggested to draw a typology; moreover, additional regimes have been proposed (Bonoli, 1997). Eventually, I have chosen a four-category typology: ‘liberal’, conservative corporatist, social-democratic and Mediterranean welfare regimes. The US, Germany, Sweden and Spain have been chosen to illustrate the welfare regimes used in this book. For each country, I first analyse the main dimensions that underpin the fight against working poverty and, second, highlight other features of its welfare state that appear to have an impact on working poverty. Third, all welfare regimes were hit by strong exogenous shocks, namely globalization, deindustrialization and technological changes in developed economies. There were objective evolutions, capital becoming much more mobile thanks to the development of transportation and communication (Wood, 1994) and the removal of many barriers to international trade, but also cognitive changes, due to the crisis of the Keynesian model in the 1970s and 1980s, which allowed neoclassical ‘outsiders’, the ‘Chicago boys’ in particular, to make...

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