In this unique and provocative contribution to the literatures of political science and social policy, ten leading experts question prevailing views that federalism always inhibits the growth of social solidarity. Their comparative study of the evolution of political institutions and welfare states in the six oldest federal states - Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the US - reveals that federalism can facilitate and impede social policy development. Development is contingent on several time-dependent factors, including degree of democratization, type of federalism, and the stage of welfare state development and early distribution of social policy responsibility. The reciprocal nature of the federalism-social policy relationship also becomes apparent: the authors identify a set of important bypass structures within federal systems that have resulted from welfare state growth. In an era of retrenchment and unravelling unitary states, this study suggests that federalism may actually protect the welfare state, and welfare states may enhance national integration.
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(228mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Herbert Obinger
Herbert Obinger is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Social Policy Research, University of Bremen and principal investigator at its TranState Research Centre. He has written on Swiss federalism, the role of political parties and institutions in shaping recent welfare state development and public policy typologies in advanced democratic states. Stephan Leibfried is Professor of Social Policy and Social Administration in the Department of Political Science at the University of Bremen and co-initiator of Bremen's TranState Research Centre. He has written extensively on welfare state development, and on the effects of European integration as well as globalisation on national welfare states. Francis G. Castles is Professor of Social and Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh. His previous books are The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities (2004) and Australia Reshaped: 200 Years of Institutional Tranformation (co-edited with Geoffrey Brennan, Cambridge University Press, 2002).