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Welfare and Work in the Open Economy Volume I: From Vulnerability to Competitiveness in Comparative Perspective$
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Fritz W. Scharpf and Vivien A. Schmidt

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240883

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199240884.001.0001

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(p.310) 5 Conclusions
Welfare and Work in the Open Economy Volume I: From Vulnerability to Competitiveness in Comparative Perspective

Fritz W. Scharpf (Contributor Webpage)

Vivien A. Schmidt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conclusion emphasizes more general patterns that were identified in the comparative analyses. If due account is taken of the specifics of economic changes and national policy legacies, the variation among the responses of individual countries is far from random. In each of the periods covered by the study, there were distinct groups of countries facing similar policy challenges that would have called for similar responses. And even though the increasing internationalization of the economic environment has narrowed the range of economically viable national policy choices, we are able to show that in each of these groups, one or more countries did in fact have the institutional capabilities and the policy discourses that allowed them to move “from vulnerability to competitiveness” without abandoning their normative aspirations or jeopardizing the democratic legitimacy of their governments.

Keywords:   competition, democracy, economic challenges, economic viability, institutional capability, legitimacy, policy discourse, policy legacy

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