Theory and Practice in Europe
Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén
Chapter 7: Catching up with the pioneers – Germany’s new activation compromise
Ageing is a pressing political issue, not least in Germany. In international rankings, Germany finds itself in the group of countries where the impact of demographic changes looms largest. Indeed, ageing produces massive challenges on various fronts, as I shall show in the following section. Germany occupies a very special position in international welfare state research. Not only is its pioneering historical role in building the welfare state well documented (Alber 1982), but in comparative research it often serves as a proxy for Esping-Andersen’s famous category of a conservative– corporatist welfare state (Arts and Gelissen 2002). The varieties of capitalism (VoC) approach (Hall and Soskice 2001), differentiating two types of political economies – coordinated market economies (CMEs) and liberal market economies (LMEs) – often cites Germany as a prime example of a market economy emphasizing coordination rather than the ‘invisible hand’ of the market.
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