The provision of public and personal social services in European countries

Between marketisation and the return of the public/municipal and third sector

Authored by: Hellmut Wollmann

The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138234727
eBook ISBN: 9781315306278
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses the institutions, organisations and actors involved in the delivery of public and personal social services. A historical and developmental approach is followed in which four phases are distinguished. The late 19th century (‘pre-welfare state’) phase; in Western European (WE) countries, the advanced welfare state peaking in the 1970s. In Central Eastern European (CEE) countries, the centralised Socialist State that continued until the early 1990s. This is contrasted with the new public management (NPM)-inspired and market-driven ‘liberalisation’ of the 1980s onward. The most recent phase has developed since the mid-1990s The guiding question of the ‘developmental’ analysis is whether institutional convergence or divergence has prevailed during the respective phases.

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