Handbook on Migration and Social Policy
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Handbook on Migration and Social Policy

Edited by Gary P. Freeman and Nikola Mirilovic

In this detailed Handbook, an interdisciplinary team of scholars explores the consequences of migration for the social policies of rich welfare states. They test conflicting claims as to the positive and negative effects of different types of migration against the experience of countries in Europe, North America, Australasia, the Middle East and South Asia. The chapters assess arguments as to migration’s impact on the financial, social and political stability of social programs. The volume includes comprehensive reviews of existing scholarship as well as state of the art original empirical analysis.
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Chapter 16: Rumors that diversity is the death of the welfare state are greatly exaggerated: on the resilience of the European social model

Markus M.L. Crepaz


That the welfare state is in crisis has become a cliché. For the last four decades, there has been a veritable cottage industry proclaiming the imminent collapse of the European social model. Particularly since the mid-1970s, many scholars, pundits and journalists have proclaimed that one of the signal achievements of European politics – a government-protected minimum standard of income, nutrition, health, housing and education – is unsustainable. Explanations include ‘globalization’, which is argued to induce downward pressures on tax rates (Schwartz 2001); ‘deindustrialization’, which is said to shift employment structures towards more service-oriented positions (Iverson 2001); a purported drop in productivity in the tertiary economy, known as ‘postindustrialization’ (Pierson 2001); the ‘fiscal crisis of the state’ (O’Connor 1973), where government expenditures grow faster than state revenues; the ‘graying’ of modern societies driven by the entry of women into the workforce and the corresponding drop in fertility leading to low birth rates (Brittan 1998; Kotlikoff and Burns 2004), and the literature on the ‘moral challenges’ of the welfare state, suggesting that the state apparently undermines the natural bonds of family and friendship (Habermas 1987; Taylor 1987). More recently, ‘homogamy’ has been touted as a potential challenge to the welfare state, suggesting that people of a similar social class tend to marry each other, leading to increased inequality and a decline of social mobility (Esping-Andersen 2007).

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