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By Herbert Obinger, Stephan Leibfried, Francis G. Castles

Ten specialists query triumphing perspectives that federalism continually inhibits the expansion of social unity. Their comparative research of the evolution of political associations and welfare states within the six oldest federal states--Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the U.S.--reveals that federalism can facilitate and abate social coverage improvement. improvement is contingent on a number of time-dependent elements and this research means that federalism may very well shield the welfare nation, and welfare states may possibly increase nationwide integration.

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Extra resources for Federalism and the Welfare State: New World and European Experiences

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3 Farmers and agricultural employees only. Source: Manfred G. Schmidt, Sozialpolitik in Deutschland (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1998), p. 180. The table there has been slightly adjusted by the authors. 56 Germany and Austria were clearly welfare pioneers. Canada, the USA and Switzerland were conspicuous laggards. The vertical power separation inherent in federal arrangements is mirrored in fragmented welfare states. 6 reports present jurisdictional arrangements of different tiers of government in these six nations with respect to the core branches of social provision.

Health insurance and unemployment provision have not been mandatory, while old age insurance was designed as Volksversicherung and provided universal flat-rate benefits rather than occupationally fragmented social insurance of the normal Bismarckian type. Private providers and workplace-related benefits have always played a significant role in benefit provision. 7 shows that social expenditure levels in the German-speaking federations are now virtually identical. 7, we have employed cluster analysis to detect welfare state patterns.

72 Although most locally provided social benefits may not be regarded as public goods, Tiebout’s model reminds us that mobility between communities may be influenced and stimulated by public policy packages. Communities providing more social benefits and services than others may attract new beneficiaries from elsewhere. Were it the case that social beneficiaries were fully mobile and possessed perfect knowledge of local social policy packages, welfare-induced migration would lead to increased spending in such communities unless restrictions, such as residence requirements, were imposed.

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