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Third Ways and Social Democracy: The Right Way to Go?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2010


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1 See, for example, Scharpf, Fritz W., ‘Employment in the Welfare State in the Open Economy’, in René Cuperus, Karl Duffek and Johannes Kandel, eds, European Social Democracy Facing the Twin Revolution of Globalisation and Knowledge Society (Amsterdam: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/ Wiardi Beckman Stichting/Renner Institut, 2001), pp. 6377Google Scholar; Keman, Hans, ‘Contemporary Approaches to Social Democracy: Old Wines in New Bottles’, European Political Science, 7 (2008), 494506CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Developed by Pennings, Paul and Keman, Hans in ‘Towards a New Methodology of Estimating Party Policy Positions’, Quality & Quantity, 38 (2002), 5579CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and based on data published by Budge, Ian, Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, Volkens, Andrea, Bara, Judith and Tanenbaum, Eric, Mapping Policy Preferences: Parties, Governments, Electors 1945–1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)Google Scholar, and Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, Volkens, Andrea, Bara, Judith, Budge, Ian and McDonald, Michael, Mapping Policy Preferences II: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments in Central and Eastern Europe, European Union and OECD 1990–2003 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)Google Scholar. These data have been derived by the international Manifesto Research Group analysing party electoral platforms by means of word frequencies into 56 categories over time representing policy positions and political issues; see Appendix II of Budge et al., Mapping Policy Preferences, pp. 219–28.

3 Keman, Hans and Pennings, Paul, ‘Competition and Coalescence: Social Democracy and Christian Democracy Moving into the 21st Century’, Swiss Political Science Review, 12 (2006), 95126CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Because of the process of federalization in Belgium, since 1978 two party systems have been at work in Belgium. Therefore, the Flemish and Walloon party systems are treated as separate cases.

5 Armingeon, Klaus, Beyeler, Michelle and Menegale, Sarah, Comparative Political Data Set 1960–2004 (Institute of Political Science (IPW), University of Bern, 2007)Google Scholar. See website:

6 Esping-Andersen, Gøsta, Politics Against Markets: The Social Democratic Road to Power (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985)Google Scholar; Van Kersbergen, Kees, Social Capitalism: A Study of Christian Democracy and the Welfare State (London: Routledge 1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 Keman, ‘Contemporary Approaches to Social Democracy’.

8 Green-Pedersen, Christopher, van Kersbergen, Kees and Hemerijck, Anton, ‘Neo-Liberalism, the “Third Way” or What? Recent Social Democratic Welfare Policies in Denmark and the Netherlands’, Journal of European Public Policy, 8 (2001), 307325CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Blair, Tony and Schroeder, Gerhard, Europe: The Third Way/Die Neue Mitte (see various websites for reports of this speech, June 1999)Google Scholar.

9 Giddens, Anthony, The Third Way and Its Critics (London: Polity Press, 2000)Google Scholar; Merkel, Wolfgang, ‘The Third Ways of Social Democracy’, in René Cuperus and Johannes Kandel, eds, Social Democratic Think Tanks Explore the Magical Return of Social Democracy in a Liberal Era (Amsterdam, Berlin; Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 1998), pp. 2762Google Scholar; Meyer, Thomas (with Hinchman, Lewis P.), The Theory of Social Democracy (Oxford: Polity Press, 2007)Google Scholar.

10 See also: Pennings, Paul, ‘European Social Democracy between Planning and Market: A Comparative Exploration of Trends and Variations’, Journal of European Public Policy, 6 (1999), 743756CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pierson, Chris, Hard Choices: Social Democracy in the 21st Century (Oxford: Polity Press, 2001)Google Scholar; Keman, Hans, ‘Explaining Miracles: Third Ways and Work & Welfare’, West European Politics, 26 (2003), 115135CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schmidt, Vivian et al. , Public Discourse and Welfare State Reform: The Social Democratic Experience (Amsterdam: Mets & Schilt, 2005)Google Scholar.

11 Giddens, Anthony, The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy (London: Polity Press, 1998)Google Scholar, esp. p. 65; Merkel, Wolfgang, Egle, C., Henkes, Christopher, Ostheim, T., Petring, A., Die Reformfähigkeit der Sozialdemokratie. Herausforderungen und Bilanz der Regierungspolitik in Westeuropa (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2006)Google Scholar.

12 In Keman, Hans, ‘Experts and Manifestos: Different Sources – Same Results for Comparative Research?’ Electoral Studies, 26 (2007), 114CrossRefGoogle Scholar, the use of manifestos has been cross-validated against expert surveys and proved to be more reliable over time than other sources like expert surveys.

13 Keman, Hans, ‘Theoretical Approaches to Social Democracy’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 5 (1993), 291316CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Castles, Francis G., ed., The Disappearing State: Retrenchment Realities in an Age of Globalism (Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 The emphasis on a traditional Welfare State – or social security state – is operationalized by means of data derived from Budge et al., Mapping Policy Preferences, pp. 219–28, and Klingemann et al., Mapping Policy Preference II, using the following variables of the dataset (see fn. 2): PER404, PER409, PER412, PER504. The emphasis on the social investment state or ‘Third Ways’ is measured by PER402, PER403, PER411, PER506. All are percentages of the total text of the respective party platforms representing the issues related to these scales and are added up for each party over time.

16 Working Class Appeal is constructed by means of the following variables from the Manifesto Research Group datasets (see fn. 2): PER415, PER701, PER705, PER706, representing positive references on labour groups, minority groups on the labour market and positive references to the underprivileged in society. A high(er) score – representing percentages of the party programme text – implies stronger attention to the working-class constituency.

17 It should be noticed that in many West European parties (such as in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France) there are left-wing contenders included in the category ‘other parties’, whose presence obviously influences the results for social democratic parties. Leaving these out would mean an even more convergent development.

18 Kitschelt, Herbert, ‘European Social Democracy between Political Economy and Electoral Competition’, in Herbert Kitschelt, Peter Lange, Gary Marks and John D. Stephens, eds, Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 317345CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 See also Paul Pennings, ‘Voters, Elections and Ideology in European Democracies’, and Volkens, Andrea, ‘Policy Changes of European Social Democrats, 1945–1998’, both in Giuliano Bonoli and Martin Powell, eds, Social Democratic Party Policies in Contemporary Europe (London: Routledge, 2004)Google Scholar; Keman and Pennings, ‘Competition and Coalescence’.

20 Cuperus, René and Kandel, Johannes, Transformation in Progress: European Social Democracy (Amsterdam–Berlin–Vienna: Wiarda Beckman Stichting; Friedrich–Ebert–Stiftung and Renner Institut, 1998)Google Scholar; Kitschelt, Herbert, The Transformation of European Social Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Mair, Peter, ‘In the Aggregate: Mass Electoral Behaviour in Western Europe, 1950–2000’, in Hans Keman, ed., Comparative Democratic Politics: A Guide to Present Theory and Research (London: Sage Publishers, 2002)Google Scholar; Keman and Pennings, ‘Competition and Coalescence’.

21 Merkel, , ‘The Third Ways of Social Democracy’, in Cuperus and Kandel, Transformation in Progress, p. 33Google Scholar.

22 By, for example, Cuperus and Kandel, Transformation in Progress, and Merkel, ‘The Third Ways of Social Democracy’.

23 Note that the 6.2 per cent increase in seats is positively affected by the first-past-the-post electoral systems in Australia, New Zealand (up to the 1996 election) and Britain.

24 See this argument in Budge, Ian, ‘Rational Choice as Comparative Theory: Beyond Economic Self Interest’, in Hans Keman, ed., Comparative Politics (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1993), pp. 81100Google Scholar.

25 Cuperus and Kandel, Transformation in Progress.

26 See also Pierson, Hard Choices; and Castles, ed., The Disappearing State.

27 Giddens, The Third Way and Its Critics; Huber, Evelyn and Stephens, John D., ‘Internationalization and the Social Democratic Model’, Comparative Political Studies, 31 (1998), 353397CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 Keman, Hans, ‘Party Government Formation and Policy Preferences: An Encompassing Approach?’ in Albert Weale and Judith Bara, eds, Democracy, Parties and Elections (London: Routledge, 2006)Google Scholar.