Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Welfare and Work in the Open Economy Volume II: Diverse Responses to Common Challenges in Twelve Countries$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Fritz W. Scharpf and Vivien A. Schmidt

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199240922.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Switzerland Adjustment Politics Within Institutional Constraints

Switzerland Adjustment Politics Within Institutional Constraints

(p.131) 4 Switzerland Adjustment Politics Within Institutional Constraints
Welfare and Work in the Open Economy Volume II: Diverse Responses to Common Challenges in Twelve Countries

Giuliano Bonoli

André Mach

Oxford University Press

Among ‘Continental’ welfare states, Switzerland had and has the highest per capita income and the highest employment ratio in the group of advanced welfare states included in this study. Its export‐oriented industries and services have remained highly competitive; its levels of taxation and welfare expenditures are low; and its labour‐market institutions are highly flexible. Nevertheless, Switzerland suffered severe job losses in the first oil‐price crisis and responded by introducing compulsory unemployment insurance. In the 1980s and 1990s, political pressures from export‐oriented businesses were successful in reducing the tariff and non‐tariff barriers, protecting the sheltered sectors of the Swiss economy, whose inefficiency was beginning to hurt the competitiveness of internationally exposed firms. However, when the demand for neo‐liberal reforms touched on the benefits provided by the — not particularly generous — Swiss welfare state, they were stopped not by the ‘social partners’ as in other consociational/ corporatist democracies, or by electoral shifts in governments, but by the direct democracy of the referendum system. As a consequence, limited retrenchment had to be combined with some important extensions of welfare coverage.

Keywords:   competitiveness, direct democracy, neo‐liberalism, oil‐price crisis, protection, referendum, Switzerland, taxation, unemployment insurance, welfare state

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .