Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ndmmz Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-26T13:25:17.896Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Politics, Institutions, and Welfare Spending in Industrialized Democracies, 1960–82

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

Alexander M. Hicks
Emory University
Duane H. Swank
Marquette University


We examine the roles of democratic politics and political institutions in shaping social welfare spending in 18 contemporary capitalist democracies. We explore the social spending consequences of government partisanship, electoral competition and turnout, and the self-interested behaviors of politicians and bureaucrats, as well as such relatively durable facets of political institutions as neocorporatism, state centralization, and traditionalist policy legacies. Pooled time series analyses of welfare effort in 18 nations during the 1960–82 period show that electoral turnout, as well as left and center governments increase welfare effort; that the welfare efforts of governments led by particular types of parties show significant differences and vary notably with the strength of oppositional (and junior coalitional) parties; and that relatively neocorporatist, centralized, and traditionalistic polities are high on welfare effort. Overall, our findings suggest that contrary to many claims, both partisan and nonpartisan facets of democratic politics and political institutions shape contemporary social welfare effort.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1992

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Alford, Robert R., and Friedland, Roger. 1985. Powers of Theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alvarez, R. Michael, Garrett, Geoffrey, and Lange, Peter. 1991. “The Political Economy of Macroeconomic Performance.” American Political Science Review 85:539–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Austen-Smith, D., and Banks, J.. 1990. “Stable Government and the Allocation of Policy Portfolios.” American Political Science Review 84:891906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldwin, Peter. 1990. The Politics of Social Solidarity: Class Bases of the European Welfare State, 1875–1975. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Browne, Eric, and Dreijmanis, John. 1982. Government Coalitions in Western Democracies. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
Cameron, David. 1978. “The Expansion of the Public Economy: A Comparative Analysis.” American Political Science Review 72:1243–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cameron, David R. 1984. “Social Democracy, Labor Quiescence and the Representation of Economic Interest in Advanced Capitalist Society.” In Order and Conflict in Contemporary Capitalism, ed. Goldthorpe, John H.. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Castles, Francis. 1982. The Impact of Parties. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
Castles, Francis, and McKinlay, Robert. 1979. “The Public Welfare Provision, Scandinavia, and the Pure Futility of the Sociological Approach to Politics.” British Journal of Political Science 9:157–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Castles, Francis, and Mair, Peter. 1984. “Left-Right Political Scales: Some Expert Judgements.” European Journal of Political Research 12:7388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cohen, Jacob, and Cohen, Patricia. 1975. Applied Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis. Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Dahl, Robert. 1982. Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Downs, Anthony. 1957. The Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
Dye, Thomas. 1979. “Politics Versus Economics: The Development of the Literature on Policy Determination.” Policy Studies Journal 7:652–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Esping-Andersen, Gosta. 1990. The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. London: Polity.Google Scholar
Evans, Peter M., Reuschemeyer, Dietrich, and Skocpol, Theda, eds. 1985. Bringing the State Back In. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedrich, Robert J. 1982. “In Defense of Multiplicative Terms.” American Journal of Political Science 26:797833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garand, James C. 1988. “Explaining Government Growth in the U.S. States.” American Political Science Review 82:837–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heclo, Hugh. 1974. Modern Social Policies in Britain and Sweden. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Heclo, Hugh, and Madsen, Henrik. 1987. Policy and Politics in Sweden. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Hibbs, Douglas A. Jr., 1987. The Political Economy of Industrial Democracies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hicks, Alexander. 1988a. “National Collective Action and Economic Performance: A Review Essay.” International Studies Quarterly 32:131–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hicks, Alexander. 1988b. “Social Democratic Corporatism and Economic Growth.” Journal of Politics 50:677704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hicks, Alexander, and Swank, Duane H.. 1984. “On the Political Economy of Welfare Expression.” Comparative Political Studies 17:81119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hicks, Alexander, Swank, Duane, and Ambuhl, Martin. 1989. “Welfare Expansion Revisited: Policy Routines and their Mediation by Party, Class, and Crisis, 1957–1982.” European Journal of Political Research 17:401–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
International Labor Organization, selected years, a. Cost of Social Security. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
International Labor Organization, selected years, b. Yearbook of Labor Statistics. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
Jackman, Robert. 1986. “Elections and Democratic Class Struggle.” World Politics 39:123–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Janoski, Thomas. 1990. The Political Economy of Unemployment. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Johnston, John J. 1984. Econometric Methods. 3d ed. New York: MacGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Judge, George G., Griffith, W. E., Hill, R. C., and Lee, T.. 1985. The Theory and Practice of Econometrics. 2d ed. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Kamlet, Mark, and Fischer, Gregory. 1984. “Explaining Presidential Priorities, 1955–1981.” American Political Science Review 78:356–73.Google Scholar
Katzenstein, Peter J. 1985. Small States in World Markets: Industrial Policy in Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Keech, William, and Pak, Kyoungson. 1989. “Electoral Cycles and Budgetary Growth in Veterans Benefit Programs.” American Journal of Political Science 33:901–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keesings Publications. 19611984. Keesings Contemporary Archives. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Key, V. O. 1949. Southern Politics. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Kmenta, Jan. 1988. Elements of Econometrics. 2d ed. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Korpi, Walter. 1983. The Democratic Class Struggle. London: Routledge & Keagan Paul.Google Scholar
Korpi, Walter. 1989. “Power, Politics, and State Autonomy in the Development of Social Citizenship.” American Sociological Review 54:309–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Explanation. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Lijphart, Arend. 1984. Democracies. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lijphart, Arend, and Crepaz, Markus. 1991. “Corporatism and Consensus in Eighteen Countries.” British Journal of Political Science 21:235–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1983. “Radicalism and Reform: The Sources of Working Class Protest.” American Political Science Review 77:118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mackie, Thomas, and Rose, Richard. 1974. The International Almanac of Electoral History. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Masters, Marick F., and Robertson, John D.. 1988. “Class Compromise in Industrialized Democracies.” American Political Science Review 82:11831201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, Robert J. Jr., 1974. “The Jackknife—a Review.” Biometika 51:3339.Google Scholar
Mueller, Dennis C. 1979. Public Choice. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Niskanen, William A. 1971. “Bureaucrats and Politicians.” Journal of Law and Economics 18:617–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 1982. Employment in the Public Sector. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 1986. Economic Outlook: Historical Statistics, 1960–1983. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
Orloff, Ann Shola, and Skocpol, Theda. 1984. “Why Not Equal Protections?American Sociological Review 49:726–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pampel, Fred C., and Williamson, John B.. 1989. Age, Class, Politics and the Welfare State. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pampel, Fred C., and Stryker, Robin. 1988. “State Context and Welfare Development in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 1959–1980.” Presented at Workshop on Comparative Research in Social Policy, International Sociological Association Research Committee, Stockholm.Google Scholar
Powell, G. Bingham Jr., 1982. Contemporary Democracies: Participation, Stability and Violence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Przeworski, Adam. 1985. Capitalism and Social Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quinn, Dennis P., and Shapiro, Robert Y.. 1991. “Business: Political Power: The Case of Taxation.” American Political Science Review 85:851–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rokkan, Stein. 1970. Citizens, Elections, Parties. New York: McKay.Google Scholar
Roubini, Nouriel, and Sachs, Jeffrey. 1989. “Fiscal Policy.” Economic Policy 30:101–13.Google Scholar
Skocpol, Theda. 1985. “Bringing the State Back In: Current Research” In Bringing the State Back In ed. Evans, Peter M., Reuschemeyer, Dietrich, and Skocpol, Theda. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Social Security Administration. 1981. Social Security throughout the World. Washington: GPO.Google Scholar
Stephens, John. 1979. The Transition from Capitalism to Socialism. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stimson, James. 1985. “Regression in Time and Space: A Statistical Essay.” American Journal of Political Science 29:914–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Summers, Robert, and Heston, Alan. 1982. “Improved International Comparisons of Real Product, 1950–1980.” Review of Income and Wealth 41:207–62.Google Scholar
Swank, Duane H. 1983. “Between Incrementalism and Revolution.” American Behavioral Scientist 26:291310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swank, Duane H. 1988. “The Political Economy of Governmental Domestic Expenditures, 1960–1980.” American Journal of Political Science 32:1121–50.Google Scholar
Swank, Duane H. 1992. “Politics and the Structural Dependence of the State in Capitalist Democracies.” American Political Science Review 86:3854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taylor, Alan J. P. 1946. The Course of German History. New York: Capricorn.Google Scholar
Tufte, Edward. 1978. The Political Control of the Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tukey, John W. 1958. “Bias and Confidence in Not-Quite-Large Samples.” Annual of Mathematical Statistics 29:614–23.Google Scholar
Wallerstein, Michael. 1989. “Union Organization in Advanced Industrial Societies.” American Political Science Review 83:481501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weir, Margaret, Orloff, Ann, and Skocpol, Theda. 1989. The Politics of Social Policy in the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
White, Kenneth J. 1988. Shazam: Econometrics Computer Program. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Wilensky, Harold. 1975. The Welfare State and Equality. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Wilensky, Harold. 1981. “Leftism, Catholicism, and Democratic Corporatism: The Role of Political Parties in Recent Welfare State Development.” In The Development of the Welfare States in Europe and American, ed. Flora, Peter and Heidenheimer, Arnold. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
Wolferen, Karl van. 1989. The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar