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Int J Health Serv. 2000;30(2):231-51.

Are pro-welfare state and full-employment policies possible in the era of globalization?

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  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205-1901, USA.


There is a widely held belief in U.S. and European economic, political, and academic circles that economic globalization has considerably diminished states' power to follow public policies identified with the social democratic tradition, such as full-employment policies, comprehensive and universal provision of welfare state services, and state regulatory interventions in labor markets and economic policies. And large sectors of the European center-left and left parties believe that European monetary integration made expansionist and full-employment policies practically impossible, except when realized at the European continental level. This article presents empirical information that questions these positions. It documents how specific governments in Europe have been able to carry out such public policies during these years of economic globalization and monetary integration. Some countries (such as Sweden and Finland) that had carried out these policies then later weakened their implementation did so in response to political changes mostly unrelated to globalization of the economy or monetary integration. The article also analyzes and documents how countries that had followed expansionist and full-employment policies have responded to the globalization of financial markets.

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