Abstract

An influential line of argument holds that globalization causes economic uncertainty and spurs popular demands for compensatory welfare state spending. This article argues that the relationship between globalization and welfare state expansion is spurious and that the engine of welfare state expansion since the 1960s has been deindustrialization. Based on cross-sectional-time-series data for fifteen OECD countries, the authors show that there is no relationship between globalization and the level of labor-market risks (in terms of employment and wages), whereas the uncertainty and dislocations caused by deindustrialization have spurred electoral demands for welfare state compensation and risk sharing. Yet, while differential rates of deindustrialization explain differences in the overall size of the welfare state, its particular character--in terms of the share of direct government provision and the equality of transfer payments--is shaped by government partisanship. The argument has implications for the study and the future of the welfare state that are very different from those suggested in the globalization literature.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3338
Print ISSN
0043-8871
Pages
pp. 313-349
Launched on MUSE
2000-04-01
Open Access
No
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