Public policy-making and risk profiles: Scandinavian centre-right governments after the turn of the millennium

Publikation: Forskning - peer reviewTidsskriftartikel

DOI

Recent theoretical advances in the welfare state literature have outlined the differences between labour market- and life course-related schemes as centre-right parties have difficulties in enacting retrenchment on life course-related schemes because they concern every voter. In contrast, the textbook risk profile of centre-right parties’ electorates allows them to cut back on labour market-related schemes since these parties get negligible support from workers and low income voters. Conducting a comparative case study of recent Danish and Swedish centre-right governments, this article analyses the stylised assumptions on the party level by comparing two similar centre-right governments which differed in their voter coalitions’ risk profile. I first argue that centre-right governments are generally constrained by the popular entrenchment of the universal welfare state when it comes to life course-related welfare schemes. Second, I argue that the leeway on labour market-related schemes is contingent on the actual risk profile of the centre-right’s electorate, and thereby move beyond the stylised assumptions from recent literature. In this respect, the Danish centre-right did, in contrast to its Swedish counterpart, gain power with an unusual high support among working class voters which should constrain its leeway on labour market-related schemes. I find that the Danish centre-right governments after 2001 acted with bound hands on all major welfare schemes thanks to its high working class backing, and refrained from outright cutbacks on both labour market- and life course-related schemes until 2011 except for labour market outsiders. In contrast, the Swedish centre-right had a much lower working class backing and therefore engaged in some outright cutbacks of labour market-related schemes such as unemployment benefits directly after taking office 2006. The centre-right’s actual voter coalition’s risk profile is thus an important determinant for its public policies and its leeway for policy-seeking
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Political Science Review
Vol/bind9
Tidsskriftsnummer4
Sider (fra-til)495-518
Antal sider24
ISSN1755-7739
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2017
BegivenhedECPR Joint Sessions 11-14 March 2013 - Mainz, Tyskland
Varighed: 11 mar. 201315 mar. 2013

Workshop

WorkshopECPR Joint Sessions 11-14 March 2013
LandTyskland
ByMainz
Periode11/03/201315/03/2013

    Forskningsområder

  • Right-wing governments, risk profiles, life course, labour market, welfare state retrenchment

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