Anton Hemerijck

Welfare Recalibration as Social Learning

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This article elaborates on the multidimensional concept of welfare recalibration for the empirical study of contemporary processes of welfare reform. The argument highlights the limitations of mainstream historical institutional analysis in coming to term with a number of important qualitative reorientations in social insurance provision, labour market policy and regulation, industrial relations, pension and social services across affluent European political economies in recent decades. Building on novel theoretical insights this contribution introduces an empirically grounded and multidimensional heuristic of welfare recalibration for the analysis of contemporary processes of welfare reform. Multidimensionality in this context suggests that reform decisions in different policy areas pass through, and are based upon, cognitive and normative judgment, distributive bargaining and institutional (re-) design as to how improve policy performance under conditions of fundamental environmental change.


  • Welfare state
  • Institutional analysis
  • Policy Learning


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