SpohrPfadwechsel in der Arbeitsmarktpolitik

This volume analyses the conditions under which governments broke the path-dependency of labour market policies and aligned it to the principle of activation. The author addresses an unresolved issue in comparative policy research. The assumption of a converging of European welfare states as a result of policy learning and Europeanisation conflicts with the theory of path dependency which portrays welfare states as frozen landscapes where changes only take place bounded and under high costs. To analyse the conditions for a path change, following historical institutionalism the enabling and restricting impacts of institutions are integrated in the multiple streams framework. The comparison of three reform processes points out that, due to a strong institutionalisation and the politics of blame avoidance, windows of opportunity and the strategic skills of policy entrepreneurs are of crucial importance.