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The Age of DualizationThe Changing Face of Inequality in Deindustrializing Societies$
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Patrick Emmenegger, Silja Hausermann, Bruno Palier, and Martin Seeleib-Kaiser

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797899

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797899.001.0001

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Solidarity or Dualization?

Solidarity or Dualization?

Social Governance, Union Preferences, and Unemployment Benefit Adjustment in Belgium and France

Chapter:
(p.253) 11 Solidarity or Dualization?
Source:
The Age of Dualization
Author(s):

Daniel Clegg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797899.003.0011

Despite being considered to have rather similar political economies, patterns of unemployment benefit adjustment were different in Belgium and France in the 1980s and 1990s. In France the unemployment insurance system retained generous earnings-related benefits but became increasingly exclusive, with many unemployed people thus being forced to rely on institutionally distinct second-tier benefit schemes. In Belgium, by contrast, unemployment protection remained integrated and inclusive, but gradually mutated into a flat-rate benefit system providing only basic protection. This chapter explores the political dynamics behind the contrasting institutional and distributive choices in the unemployment benefit reforms of these two otherwise similar countries, in the process shedding light on the politics of welfare state dualization more generally. It suggests that the inherited institutional features of welfare systems structure the preferences of key social and political actors in ways that are likely to generate diverse social policy responses to common economic and social challenges.

Keywords:   belgium, france, unemployment protection, parametric reform, social governance, trade unions, organizational interests, policy preferences

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