Understanding the Reform Trajectory of the Bismarckian Welfare Systems
Bruno Palier, Sciences Po, Paris
During the 2000s, all Continental European countries have implemented important structural reforms of their welfare systems
(multi-pillar pension systems, activation policies, competition in the health insurance system, insurance schemes for long-term care outside the family).
The presentation will show that these reforms must be understood as the culmination of a longer reform trajectory. Taken together,
all the reforms have contributed to a reorganisation of the entire Bismarckian welfare systems: they have lost their encompassing capacities,
partly turned to activation policies and employment-friendliness, while the earlier strong male breadwinner bias has been weakened. Instead of
the emergence of new hybrid welfare systems, Continental Europe has witnessed the development of dual welfare systems that differentiate between
the protection of the core workers and activation policies vis-à-vis the "atypical" workforce. This development contributes to a "dualization"
of Continental European societies.
Bruno Palier is CNRS Research Director
at Sciences Po, Centre d’études européennes, in Paris. His research focuses on welfare state reforms in Europe. He has published numerous articles on welfare reforms in France and Europe in Politics and Society, Journal of European Social Policy, West European
Politics, Governance, Socio-Economic Review, Global Social Policy, Social Politics and various edited books. In 2007 he co-edited a special issue of the journal
Social Policy and Administration on Comparing Welfare Reforms in Continental Europe. Recently he edited A Long Good Bye to Bismarck? The Politics of Welfare
Reforms in Continental Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2010).