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The Politics of Labor Market Reform in Coordinated Welfare Capitalism: Comparing Sweden, Germany, and South Korea

  • Timo Fleckenstein and Soohyun Christine Lee

Coordinated welfare capitalism has been subject to comprehensive change since the 1990s, with workfare measures and the deregulation of employment protection at the heart of labor market reforms. Developments in Sweden, Germany, and South Korea challenge not only the assumption of relative stability that is commonly associated with the study of coordinated market economies, but also the assertion that this stability is associated with the persistence of established political coalitions. The authors contend that a collapse of longstanding welfare state coalitions is the key political driver of labor market reform, with the withdrawal of employers from previous welfare settlements at the center of this development.

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* Earlier versions of this article were presented at Seoul National University, Yonsei University, the Korea Labor Institute, and the International Sociological Association's Research Committee 19. For constructive and valuable comments, we thank participants at these occasions, as well as Niccolo Durazzi, Huck-Ju Kwon, Joakim Palme, Jiyeoun Song, and the anonymous reviewers of this journal. Timo Fleckenstein is grateful to Korea Foundation for fellowship support that allowed a research stay at Seoul National University.

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World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
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