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The Neo-liberal State$
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Raymond Plant

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281756

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281756.001.0001

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Social Justice and the Welfare State: Institutional Problems

Social Justice and the Welfare State: Institutional Problems

(p.129) Chapter 7 Social Justice and the Welfare State: Institutional Problems
The Neo-liberal State

Raymond Plant (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One of the central themes of this chapter is the neo‐liberal critique of the ‘public service ethic’ which it has been thought by Social Democratic thinkers as the main way in which the self‐interested behaviour of welfare bureaucracies can be constrained. The chapter looks at the close links between the neo‐liberal approach to this and the Public Choice School of public policy analysts who argue that the role and expansion of welfare bureaucracy is best explained by the utility maximizing behaviour at work in such bureaucracies when they are exempt from market disciplines and the possibility of bankruptcy. The role of interest groups in a welfare state is taken up again with reference to the work of Macur Olson in terms of his account of the rigidities caused to the economy by long lasting interest groups. The neo‐liberal approach to trades unions is also considered in this chapter.

Keywords:   Welfare, Public Service Ethic/Ethos, Interest Groups, Public Choice, Bureaucratic Discretion

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