Munich Personal RePEc Archive

New Social Policy Ideas in the Making: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe

Cerami, Alfio (2006): New Social Policy Ideas in the Making: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe.

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Central and Eastern European countries have experienced a rapid transformation of their economic, political and welfare regime(s). From a state-paternalist welfare state, post-communist countries are now moving towards something new. A shift in the main social policy paradigm is, in fact, taking place: from central-planning to market-based welfare provisions, from public to private responsibility, from universal and flat-rate to insurance-based and contributions-related benefits. Most of these changes seem to be clearly paradigmatic, although it has still to be asked where the post-1989 social policy discourse originated. This paper aims to address this issue, by exploring the introduction of new social policy ideas in Central and Eastern Europe. The first section clarifies the difference between old and new social policy ideas within the specific context of Central and Eastern Europe. The second section provides a brief overview of the main changes in pension, health care and unemployment benefits, while the third section briefly summarizes the results. The main argument of the paper is that policy makers in the region have combined old with new social policy ideas in order to make the new welfare arrangement sustainable to internal and external pressures. In other words, they recasted the welfare state from within.

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