Social Democracy in Power: The Capacity to Reform, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social Democracy in Power

The Capacity to Reform, 1st Edition

By Wolfgang Merkel, Alexander Petring, Christian Henkes, Christoph Egle


328 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Globalization, European integration, and social change have devaluated traditional social democratic policy instruments. This book compares and explores how social democratic governments have had to adapt and whether they have successfully managed to uphold old social democratic goals and values in the light of these challenges.

This volume examines the policy measures of social democratic parties in government in a comparative framework. The authors focus on traditional social democratic goals and tools, in particular, fiscal, employment, and social policy, in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. They identify three policy patterns in social democratic governments: traditional, modernized, and liberalized social democracy and provide a comparative account of the explanatory power of the national context for policy adopted by social democratic parties. Finally, the extent to which social democratic parties have been able to use the European Union as a political space for social democratic governance and policy-making is examined.

Social Democracy in Power will be of interest to students and scholars of politics, comparative politics, European studies and public policy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Challenges of Social Democracy 3. Opportunity Structures: Actors, Institutions and Legacies 4. United Kingdom 5. Germany 6. France 7. The Netherlands 8. Sweden 9. Denmark 10. Social Democratic Policies in Comparison 11. Prospects for Social Democratic Reforms

About the Authors

Wolfgang Merkel is Professor of Political Science at Humboldt University, and Director of the Research Unit 'Democracy' at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Germany. Alexander Petring and Christian Henkes are Research Fellows at the WZB. Christoph Egle is a Lecturer at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Comparative Politics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties