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Welfare State ChangeTowards a Third Way?$
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Jane Lewis and Rebecca Surender

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199266727.001.0001

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One Third Way or Several?

One Third Way or Several?

(p.47) 3 One Third Way or Several?
Welfare State Change

Giuliano Bonoli

Martin Powell

Oxford University Press

The chapter discusses the role of the Third Way discourse in legitimizing labour market policy reform in Britain, France, and Germany. It argues that only in Britain can a convincing causal link be drawn between the Third Way discourse and the successful implementation of supply-side reforms. In France, societal interests institutionalized in the governance of social protection continue to act as a ‘pre-political’ bulwark against state intervention in existing arrangements. In Germany, somewhat similarly, institutional factors severely limit the potential for the centre-left to either develop a single structuring discourse or to fuse historically separate policy domains, as much of the current activation agenda supposes. To the extent that efforts have advanced in this latter respect, ad hoc exploitation of contingencies and crises has proved more effective than a Third Way discourse.

Keywords:   activation, comparative analysis, discourse, France, Germany, governance of social policy, new labour, unemployment protection, welfare reform, welfare state institutions

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