Central European welfare states

Authored by: Daniel Clegg

Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138631649
eBook ISBN: 9781315207049
Adobe ISBN:


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The social protection systems of West Central European countries have their origins in the social reforms of Otto von Bismarck in Imperial Germany in the 1880s. For that reason this distinctive model of social provision is sometimes dubbed the Bismarckian model (Palier, 2010a) as well as, for reasons discussed below, the conservative-corporatist (Esping-Andersen, 1990), Christian Democratic (van Kersbergen, 1992) or industrial achievement performance model (Titmuss, 1974). Nations whose welfare systems are of this characteristic variety include France, Germany and the Benelux countries, as well as Austria and, following a period of comparatively late welfare expansion in the 1970s and 1980s, Switzerland. Due to certain shared institutional characteristics, Eastern and especially Southern European countries are sometimes also considered to have Bismarckian systems of social protection, though specific features justify seeing the welfare models of these regions as distinctive (see Chapters 14 and 15, this volume).

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