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Globalisation, European Integration and Social Protection – Patterns of Change or Continuity?

Van Vliet, Olaf and Kaeding, Michael (2007): Globalisation, European Integration and Social Protection – Patterns of Change or Continuity?

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Abstract

The adoption of a new instrument of governance in the EU – the open-method-of-coordination - has renewed the notion of convergence/divergence across EU member states. This paper examines the role of European integration in shaping and changing social welfare systems and investigates whether these patterns of change or continuity follow welfare state regime typologies. Embedded in the Europeanisation, convergence and welfare state regime literature, we rely on recent 2007 OECD social expenditure data. Controlled for cyclical and demographic effects this study shows that since 1991 social expenditures of EU member states have converged and increased on average, whereas non - EU member states have diverged. To examine whether these trends can be explained by changes in welfare regimes dendograms offer a useful means. Although we find a link between the type of regime and the long-term type trajectory more generally, these regime patterns appear to be in flow. This study finds in particular some empirical evidence for the loss in momentum of the Scandinavian regime pattern.

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