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Regimes in rich democracies

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Title: Regimes in rich democracies Author: Bob Stockwell Last modified by: Bob Stockwell Created Date: 5/6/2009 11:45:07 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Regimes in rich democracies


1
Regimes in rich democracies
  • Regime a particular pattern of politics,
    institutions, and policies
  • Politics the way people compete for political
    power through social movements, interest groups,
    and political parties
  • Organized along cleavage lines
  • Number, nature, intensity of cleavages varies
  • Institutions create rules of the game that
    structure the way political actors compete for
    political power
  • Policies outcome of political conflict filtered
    through institutions
  • Different policy choices among regimes
  • Regime types among rich democracies
  • Social democratic (Denmark, Norway, Sweden)
  • Conservative (Austria, Belgium, Germany,
    Netherlands)
  • Christian democratic (Canada, Ireland, United
    States)

2
Social democratic Politics
  • Best exemplified in Scandinavian countries
  • Gradual, smooth process of democratization
  • Far-left parties never gained traction
  • Absence of linguistic, ethnic, and religious
    cleavages
  • Did not weaken, compete with class basis of
    political loyalty)
  • Unique set of alliances
  • Disunity among opponents forged alliances with
    groups beyond working class (farmers and workers
    later, white-collar workers, middle-class voters)
  • Disunity among opponents, social homogeneity,
    strong working-class attachments, appeal to
    middle-class voters beyond working-class base

3
Social democratic Policies
  • Capitalist economic systems (vibrant businesses
    generates tax revenue for social democratic
    policies)
  • Big government
  • High rates of state expenditures and government
    revenues as percent of GDP (Table 5.1, 122)
  • High percentage of public sector employees (Table
    5.2, 123)
  • Social democratic welfare state
  • Universal available to all citizens (health
    care, day care, pensions, etc. provided to rich
    and poor alike)
  • Key to binding middle-class welfare state
  • Resources and risks pooled in the welfare state
    creating a convergence of interest)
  • Comprehensive cradle-to-grave protection (day
    care to home help for the elderly)
  • Generous replacement rates for income lost due
    to pregnancy, sickness, injury, unemployment high
    (around 75 of former earnings)
  • Quality of life detached from performance in
    labor market (wages and benefits standard of
    living does not depend on pay check)
  • Certain goods taken out of the market
  • Provided as a right of citizenship
  • Service intensive range of services delivered by
    the state is extensive
  • Redistributive benefits provided to most of the
    population, and these tend to be equal (which
    ironically has greater redistributive effect than
    those regimes that target the poor)

4
Social democratic welfare state
  • Critics charge welfare state reduces incentives
    to work
  • Scandinavian style welfare state has contributed
    to economic efficiency and productivity, has
    actually supported the economy
  • High labor force participation rates
  • range of services provided to relieve burden of
    care that previously required women to stay at
    home
  • Contributes to dynamism and competitiveness of
    economies
  • Home markets are small, have to export what they
    produce
  • Need to adjust continually, adopt new
    technologies, allocate resources to new sectors
    depending on shifts in international markets
  • Creative destruction poses threats to workers
    who risk loosing their livelihood when plants
    close, industries become uncompetitive
  • Welfare state alleviates threats by socializing
    costs of economic change (they do not fall on
    workers themselves)
  • Security provided by welfare state reduces
    opposition to new, labor-saving technologies and
    demands to maintain uncompetitive firms (think
    GM)
  • Moderates workers wage demands
  • Active labor market policies retraining, job
    placement, and relocation assistance to
    unemployed workers assist in making transition
    promotes increasing skill levels among workers
  • Result Highly competitive capitalist economies
    and large, redistributive welfare states

5
Social democratic Institutions
  • Centralized political systems
  • Parliamentary democracies
  • Party discipline (strong parties)
  • Governments govern through support of disciplined
    majorities potential conflict, stalemate of
    competing legislative and executive branches
    avoided (fused executive-legislative)
  • Unitary power concentrated at national level
  • Judicial review authority generally weak
  • Unicameralism, weak federalism, absence of
    judicial review, parliamentary government give
    dissenting groups few opportunities to block
    legislation majority prefers
  • Large and powerful labor movement
  • High percentage of unionized workers (high union
    density)
  • Unions and party closely allied
  • Corporatist interest groups
  • Unions and employers engage in centralized
    bargaining with encouragement of state (somewhat
    in decline)

6
Conservative politics
  • Production of goods and services left almost
    wholly to the market marginal state
    intervention/regulation
  • Weakness of left-wing parties
  • Either completely absent (e.g., U.S.), or
    outsiders
  • Class-voting low class position does not
    determine how voters vote to the same degree
  • Class cleavages less intense other sources of
    conflict (e.g., in U.S., race, gender, religion
    cross-cut and weaken class identification)
  • Business politically dominant
  • Interest group advantage (organization, lobbying,
    campaign contributions)
  • Low voter turnout lowest among working class
    (class divide subdued)
  • Politicians deliver policies that appeal to
    wealthy voters who are most likely to vote and
    ignore demands of working-class voters less
    likely to vote
  • Business interests identified with interests of
    society as a whole (Whats good for GMis good
    for America)

7
Conservative policies
  • Good at creating new jobs and increasing economic
    growth (Table 5.4, 130)
  • Lower payroll taxes and wages reduces labor costs
    for employers, allowing them to hire more workers
  • Small public sector (does not require high taxes)
  • Low state spending and revenues as proportion of
    GDP
  • Regulatory hand of the state constrained (gives
    way to managerial authority) when it comes to
    business activity
  • Low in terms of welfare effort (proportion of GDP
    devoted to social spending Table 5.6, 132)
  • Not designed to create broad equality
  • Creates a floor under which poor cannot fall
  • Private to public spending devoted to welfare
    high (citizens pay larger proportion of cost of
    day care, health care, retirement)
  • Low levels of public spending on welfare (lesser
    benefits distributed to poor)
  • Circumstances of those who are not poor
    determined through private sector (by their
    fortunes in the labor market rather than shared
    fate as citizens)
  • Wealthy find policies suitable because small
    costs of welfare state limits their taxes, and
    they can afford to purchase privately (through
    the market) a level of services that fits their
    income

8
Conservative institutions
  • Great variety of forms
  • Some federal others unitary
  • Parliamentary and presidential
  • Bicameral (but significant differences in power
    of second chamber)
  • Different electoral systems (PR and plurality)
  • Differences in judicial review
  • Differences in centralization (from highly
    centralized to least centralized, U.S.)
  • E.g., U.S. strong federalism, bicameralism,
    independent Congress, weak parties, judicial
    review make it easy for minorities to capture
    part of state and thwart will of majority
  • Similar interest group structures pluralist
    smaller union movements

9
Christian democratic politics
  • Organized around both class and church-state
    cleavages (although more recently both are less
    prominent than in the past with emergence of new
    parties and political issues)
  • Tend to be centrist in orientation (catch-all
    parties) able to attract cross-section of
    workers, farmers, shopkeepers, business
    executives
  • Able to more right or left in seeking coalition
    partners
  • All use PR electoral systems

10
Christian democratic policies
  • Big government (not as big as social democratic
    regimes)
  • Relatively high government expenditures, total
    tax revenue as proportion of GDP (between Social
    Democratic and Conservative Regimes)
  • High levels of welfare expenditures (proportion
    of GDP devoted to public expenditures) closer to
    social democratic than conservative regimes
  • Above average in spending on health and pensions
  • Below average on poverty and social services
  • Medium on replacement rates for income lost due
    to retirement or unemployment
  • Different kind of collective services than social
    democratic regimes
  • Provide generous transfer payments and cash
    benefits to citizens
  • Public sector employment lower than average for
    conservative regimes
  • State sector ambiguous large fiscal presence
    (high taxes and expenditures), but small social
    presence
  • Goal of social policy reinforce traditional
    family values (income security for families so
    women can remain in traditional domestic role)
    mitigate effects of inequality
  • Welfare programs managed by union and employer
    representatives for each sector of the economy
  • Benefits preserve differentials among occupations
    (more to more highly valued occupations)
  • Social programs do not bind citizens segment
    citizens by occupation reinforce class
    differences

11
Christian democratic institutions
  • Parliamentary democracies
  • Bicameral, but differences in power of
    upper/lower houses
  • Differences in judicial review
  • Differences in unitary-federal forms
  • Corporatist interest groups
  • Limited number of hierarchically structured
    associations recognized by the state and
    participate in policy-making process
  • State of corporatism varies across regimes

12
Comparing capability
  • Physical well-being
  • Social democratic regimes perform best in
    providing for physical needs of citizens
    (Absolute poverty rates, Table 5.7, 141)
  • Conservative regimes have highest rate of
    absolute poverty
  • Informed decision-making
  • Social democratic regimes have best literacy
    scores, conservative regimes the worst (using
    IALS data Table 5.8, 143)
  • Safety
  • Social democratic regimes perform best in
    providing safe environment for citizens (using
    homicide rates Table 5.9, 144)
  • Civil and political rights/quality of democracy
  • No noteworthy differences in press freedom,
    political rights, civil liberties, competitive
    elections
  • Significant differences in voice and
    accountability (using quality of democracy
    measures, U.N. Human Development Report Table
    5.10, 145)
  • Social democratic regimes performed better than
    Christian democratic and Conservative regimes
  • Also, voter turnout rates highest in Social
    democratic regimes
  • Social democratic regimes perform better in
    meeting the standards of the good society than
    Conservative or Christian democratic regimes
  • Quality of democracy higher
  • Levels of safety and security higher
  • Citizens more likely to possess skills needed to
    make informed decisions
  • Christian democratic regimes do marginally better
    in meeting physical needs
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