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Globalisation and the Welfare State: A Retrospective
There are basically three stories about the globalisation-welfare state nexus. The first story argues that globalisation is the cause of the chronic crisis of the welfare state. As national economies open to the international market, governments are forced to adapt to the imperatives of global competition, and this means cutting cost-intensive welfare programs (globalisation theory). The second story argues that whatever the cause of the welfare state crisis, globalisation is not part of it. There is neither theoretical reason nor empirical evidence to believe that national policy autonomy has decreased due to increasing economic interdependencies (globalisation sceptics). The third story holds that globalisation, far from causing the welfare state’s troubles, is a consequence of these troubles, and part of their solution (revisionism). The paper reviews each of these stories, and counterposes them to simple descriptive statistics on OECD countries.
No. 003/2004
Philipp Genschel

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