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 MPIfG Books



Thomas Paster
The Role of Business in the Development of the Welfare State and Labor Markets in Germany
Containing Social Reforms


London: Routledge, 2012
234 pages | ISBN 978-0-415-61136-7 | £ 110.00 (hardback)
978-1-13-880351-0 | £ 37.99 (paperback)
Order book directly from Routledge.



Abstract | Contents | Author




This book assesses the role of employers in the development of welfare state and labour market institutions. Building on an in-depth analysis of Germany, a market economy known to often provide economic benefits to firms, this book explores one of the most contested issues in the comparative and historical literature on the welfare state.
In a departure from existing employer-centered explanations, the author applies new empirical data to contend that the variation in acceptance of social reform depends more on changes in the types of political challenges faced by employers, than on changes in the type of institutions considered economically beneficial. Covering major reforms spanning more than a century of institutional development in unemployment insurance, accident insurance, pensions, collective bargaining, and codetermination, this book argues that employers support social policy as a means to contain political outcomes that would have been worse, including labour unrest and more radical reform plans. Using new and controversial findings on the role of employers in welfare state development, this book considers the conditions for a peaceful coexistence of a generous welfare state and the business world.



1. Introduction
2. Theory: Economic Interests and Political Constraints
3. The Origins of Employers' Associations: Coordinating against Organized Labor
4. Bismarck's Social Reforms: Employers and Social Pacification
5. World War I and Its Consequences: Class Collaboration in Exceptional Times
6. Business and the Origins of Unemployment Insurance: Protecting Work Incentives
7. Business after World War II: The "Social Market Economy"
8. Post-War Social Policy Reforms: Containing Welfare Expansion
9. Codetermination: Employers against Economic Democracy
10. Employers and the German Model Today
11. Conclusions: How Employers Shaped the Welfare State



Thomas Paster is a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) in Cologne, Germany.

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