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Session Overview
RN26_07a_P: Regimes on the Move
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Johans Tveit Sandvin, Nord University
Location: PC.4.23
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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The Balanced Development Index and the Welfare State Models in Europe.

Katarzyna Joanna Piotrowska

Kozminski University, Poland

Set within the ‘beyond GDP’ paradigm, a Balanced Development Index (BDI) has been developed by a research team at Kozminski University in Warsaw in order to analyse and predict socio-economic changes. Four groups of detailed indicators are identified: two economic (external and internal) and two social (concerning both the objective and subjective current situation, and concerning public expectations for the future). They are subsequently aggregated into the general index (BDI). We observe the general level of the BDI as well as the congruency between four middle level indexes, which are interpreted in terms of balance relevant for future socio-economic development. This analysis is carried out for the 22 EU countries that belong to the OECD, between 1999 and 2015, using general available data (e.g. Eurostat and ESS).

This paper will present the results of this analysis, and combine it with cluster analysis carried out on the welfare state models existent in the post-Communist countries that belong to the European Union. (Piotrowska and Rae, 2016) Contrary to previous hypotheses we have found no evidence of the post-Communist EU states converging with the Esping-Andersen models. Also, we have found a distinct post-Communist welfare model, with its own identifiable features. We shall use the cluster identified in 2014 as the point of our present analysis.

This paper uses the Balanced Development Indicator as a means to analyse this welfare cluster and to see how it differentiates with other welfare clusters found in our analysis. In turn, we can then draw conclusions as to the extent that the welfare state model in CEE coexists with balanced socio-economic development in the region.

Vulnerability of the Nordic welfare model

Jorma Sipilä, Anneli Anttonen

University of Tampere, Finland

It is universally acknowledged that the Nordic countries have been particularly successful in international comparisons of equity and well-being. Obviously, the main secrets of this success have been the extensive coverage of social benefits and the unrestrained access to public services. "All benefit, all are dependent and all will presumably feel obliged to pay", as Esping-Andersen (1990) said in his classic text.

Behind this success we find a number of specific historical conditions. The institutions have been formed during a long period of time, and they are not easily transplanted in other parts of the world. The contextuality of the conditions also means that it is not at all evident that the Nordic countries can uphold their welfare model.

What has happened to the core factors, which once strongly underpinned the construction of the Nordic welfare model? My ten core factors are protestantism, the political coalition of industrial workers and small farmers, high membership in labour unions, high levels of female employment and women’s political influence, social cohesion, citizens’ trust in state, strong local democracy, tax-financing, high social investment, and low corruption. But what about these factors today? Do they still hold, have they changed, or was the Nordic welfare state just an exceptional passing phase in world history?

WELFARE ASSEMBLAGES IN THE POST-YUGOSLAV SPACE: Legacies, agency and drivers of inertia

Siniša Zrinščak1, Paul Stubbs2

1Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia; 2Institute of Economics, Zagreb, Croatia

Twenty-five years after the break up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), the emerging post-Yugoslav states exhibit both divergences and similarities in terms of their formal social welfare arrangements. Concentrating analysis on the three largest post-Yugoslav states – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia – this paper focuses on three aspects of the respective welfare trajectories in each country which have, thus far, not been given sufficient attention in the literature on social welfare in transition.

The first relates to the legacy of social welfare in SFRY and in its constituent republics. Whether this legacy is ignored, misread, distorted or co-opted by international actors pushing diverse ‘reform’ agendas, it continues to have a variegated impact on welfare trajectories in the region. The second reframes our understanding of the significance of three conjunctural crises: the crisis of late socialism in the 1980s: the crisis of war and authoritarian nationalisms

in the 1990s and the economic and financial crisis from 2008 onwards. The third revisits an understanding that ‘agency matters’ to address the multiplication of actors in a performative ‘crowded playground’ of welfare reform and the consequences of a ‘projectisation’ of reform mobilizing all manner of actors, ‘domestic’, ‘international’ and ‘intermestic’.

The paper is based on a review of the existing literature, updating of key social indicators and trends, and semi-structured interviews with key respondents in these three post-Yugoslav states.

“New social policy paths through external trajectories: The impact of the Economic Adjustment Programmes on the Greek Welfare State reform”

Gabriel Amitsis

Technology University of Athens, Greece

Greece is the EU Member State most impacted by the 2008 - 2009 financial crisis, given that there were neither primary social safety nets for those unable to meet their needs through market or family settings, nor supplementary policies in case of specific needs. The national social protection model was strongly fragmented, and public spending was focused on civil servants salaries and state pensions.

A radical welfare reform was a high priority issue within the structural agenda of the three Economic Adjustment Programmes (known also as Bailout Programmes), which were implemented since May 2010 by major lending international partners (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund). These institutions identified serious problems and shortcomings in the regulation and funding of welfare, and they adopted a controversial social policy agenda with strong financial but limited social effects, which puts into question the traditional balance of power between national and international competences in the welfare policy-making process. This is a unique agenda, given that it may be considered as the first attempt to introduce for the very first time a broader external operational welfare trajectory in Europe, which changes dramatically values and ideologies of the European Social Model and may influence its solidarity and redistributive effects in the near future.

In this respect, the objective of this Paper is to discuss the impact of the Economic Adjustment Programmes on the Greek Welfare State reform and highlight the framework of relevant key national initiatives, as the Greek National Social Inclusion Strategy (adopted by the Greek Government in 2014 and re-affirmed by the European Commission in 2015).

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