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Transformations of the Welfare StateSmall States, Big Lessons$
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Herbert Obinger, Peter Starke, Julia Moser, Claudia Bogedan, Edith Gindulis, and Stephan Leibfried

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296323

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296323.001.0001

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Switzerland: From Liberal to Conservative Welfare State — a Pattern of Late Maturation?

Switzerland: From Liberal to Conservative Welfare State — a Pattern of Late Maturation?

(p.191) 4 Switzerland: From Liberal to Conservative Welfare State — a Pattern of Late Maturation?
Transformations of the Welfare State

Herbert Obinger

Peter Starke

Julia Moser

Claudia Bogedan

Edith Gindulis

Stephan Leibfried

Oxford University Press

Welfare state change in Switzerland during the last thirty years has clearly not been as radical as in New Zealand. Nevertheless, the Swiss system of social protection has been substantially modified since the early 1970s. All major programmes have been altered, some even fundamentally, resulting in a shift from a ‘liberal’ welfare state regime to one that has the closest affinities to the conservative model. Furthermore, the Swiss welfare state went from being one of the lowest spending welfare states in the OECD to one of the highest. The extent of change is particularly remarkable given the dense political structure and the high number of veto players within the Swiss political system. Switzerland is characterized by a strong vertical and horizontal fragmentation of power so that all major political parties and interest groups are incorporated into the political decision-making process.

Keywords:   Switzerland, welfare state, welfare state reform, social protection, conservative model, economic growth, fragmentation, family policy

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