Briefly sets the background for the country studies by discussing the economic conditions that supported the rise of the welfare state in the post‐war years and by highlighting the economic changes beginning in the l970s that challenged the achievements of the post‐war welfare state, beginning with the end of the Bretton Woods system and the two oil crises, followed by the increasing competition in the capital and product markets in the l980s and 1990s. It then goes on to outline the three main welfare‐state constellations: Anglo‐Saxon, Continental, and Scandinavian, into which the case studies fall and to discuss the reasons for including additional special studies in the volume.
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