1st Edition

The Politics of Work-Family Policy Reforms in Germany and Italy

By Agnes Blome Copyright 2017
    260 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    One of the fundamental challenges facing modern welfare states is the question of work-family reconciliation. An increasing share of mothers work, but many European welfare states do not adequately support the dual-earner model, especially in southern Europe.

    After 2005, German policy-makers transformed the nature of Germany’s family policy regime through a number of legislative measures, whilst Italy, a country with many similarities, witnessed little change. Using a multi-methods approach, this book addresses the puzzle of why Germany was able to implement far-reaching reforms in this policy area after a long impasse and Italy was not. As such, it delivers a broad, systematic account of these reforms and sheds light on why similar reforms were not also adopted in other similar welfare states at the same time. More generally, it contributes to understanding the determinants of welfare policy change in modern European welfare states.

    This text will be of key interest to scholars, students and professionals working on topics linked to European politics, welfare and work-family policies, comparative politics, social policy, and more broadly to political science and gender studies.

    1. Introduction

    2. Theories of Welfare State and Work-Family Policy Reform

    3. Design and Evolution of Work-Family Policies: A European Comparative Overview

    4. Policy Developments in Germany and Italy: From a Shared Focus on The Male-Breadwinner Model to Diverging Paths after The 1990s

    5. How Normative Beliefs and Voting Behavior Shape Party Competition on Work-Family Policies

    6. Women’s Descriptive Representation: The More, The Better?

    7. Work-Family Policy Reform Processes in Germany: Continuous Change Towards Dual-Earner Model Support

    8. Italy: No Consensus for Change

    9. Conclusion


    Agnes Blome is Research Fellow of the Research Unit Inequality and Social Policy at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany.

    "In this excellent study of German and Italian work-family policies, Blome offers a persuasive account of welfare state change that has lessons for both scholars and policy-makers. Showing that reform is possible, but only under certain conditions, Blome breaks with a longstanding view of welfare states as stagnant and unlikely to change. Thoughtful, deeply researched and lucidly written, this book is a model of how comparative policy research should be done."

    - Kimberly Morgan, George Washington University, USA.

    "Why did Germany but not Italy embark upon a bold new approach to family policy in recent decades? Blome’s mixed-method analyses shed powerful new light on how work-family reconciliation is facilitated by women’s political representation, egalitarian change in mass opinion, and competition between political parties. The Politics of Work-Family Policy Reforms is essential reading for scholars of gender, public policy, and welfare state development in Europe."

    - Clem Brooks, Indiana University, USA

    "This book provides a rich comparative analysis of the politics of family policies in Germany and Italy."

    - Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, University of Oxford, UK.

    "This engaging book uses a comparative case study framework and an innovative methodological approach to assess the determinants of work-family reconciliation policy developments. Blome shines a light on an understudied policy arena, integrating multiple explanatory frameworks to untangle the puzzle of differing trajectories in similar countries. The result is a fresh look at the complexities of the policy-making process."

    - Janet C. Gornick, City University of New York, USA.