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Building Blocks for a New Welfare Architecture: From Ford to LEGO? Jane Jenson Denis Saint-Martin APSA Annual Meeting, Boston, 1 September 2002

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  • Building Blocks for a New Welfare Architecture: From Ford to LEGO?Jane JensonDenis Saint-MartinAPSA Annual Meeting,Boston, 1 September 2002

  • Why this title?

    Our major proposition: in a wide range of welfare regimes significant reform is under way; it involves changes that go well beyond permanent austerity (Pierson) or marginal adjustmentsindeed it may involve path shifting (Palier) or new hybrids (Hemerijck) of the three worlds of welfare capitalismshift in basic principles a LEGO model

  • Welfare state redesign now involves

    Policy visions converging toward child-centred strategy of welfare state reformChildren and their families are the policy target, but the LEGO model does not only apply to children, just as Fordism never applied only to factory workers.Observation: convergence around LEGO model, regardless of regime, but divergence in implementation

  • a clarification

    When we say the LEGO model exists, we do not mean that it is as yet hegemonic, or that it will necessarily ever be.When we say the LEGO model exists, it does not mean we like it. When we say the LEGO model exists, we do not mean that actions are the same as talk; to say, that it involves investing in children, is not to say that enough is being done for children.

  • Why LEGO?

    The LEGOTM Brand sees children as natural learners. These are precious qualities that should be nurtured and stimulated throughout life Play in the LEGO sense is learning. By helping children to learn, we build confident, curious and resourceful adults. For their future. And ours.

    This quote includes three key points that give shape to what we are calling the LEGO model

  • Three key principles

    Lifelong learning as the route to security and protection against new risks of the knowledge-based economy.Strong emphasis on equality of opportunity: equality is for the future and future life-chancesActivity now enriches the collective good, both in the present and the future.

  • Convergence around key ideasInvestment, especially human capital investments ...

    Future ...

    Equality of opportunity ...

    Policy goal is to minimise traps ...

    More than consumption of benefits

    more than now

    rather than equality of condition

    rather than to redistribute income

  • To understand convergence

    We examine three approaches that have been used to analyse welfare regimes.power resources:usually deployed to explain establishment of welfare regimes, but also useful to understand how parties respond to new political cleavage institutionalism and path dependency:to understand why change is difficultsocial learning:to understand how ideas help create movement, as policy makers undertake puzzling.

  • Social learning most useful

    For understanding convergence - how ideas spread and especially the transnational institutions that promote them - e.g. EU, OECD, policy intellectuals, political coalitions, etc.

    As states confront policy failures they may learn from each other to find possible solutions

    Of course, some of this is imposed (EU for example), and therefore we need to pay attention to other factors, suggested by the other two approaches.

  • Convergence in visions, divergence in implementation

    We examine two kinds of divergence:within regime type, that is divergence among three liberal regimes: UK, Canada, USbetween liberal regimes, which identify child poverty as primary challenge, and continental regimes, which identify sustainability as primary challenge

  • Liberal regimes: the challenge of child poverty

    The UK is most advanced in implementation:an important policy idea for New Labours Third Waythere is a good deal of back and forth between the UK and EU in ideas, as well as in the progressive politics network (eg, Blair and Schrder, 1999)Westminster bias (Visser and Hemerijck) makes reform easierCanada has only partially implemented the child centred version: federalism (multiple veto points and ideological pluralism) makes it hard to make some of the changes: e.g. child care.

  • Liberal regime: the US case

    The US has the most adult centred version:US decisions are less influenced by external policy communities, than those of smaller countries or countries integrated into policy systems like the EUthe Congressional system has a multitude of veto points: during welfare reform in 1996 there was a Democratic President and a Republican-dominated, and right-wing Congress - which accounts in large part for the focus on marriage as a welfare other words, the US story may appear more path dependent than the British or Canadian one.

  • The sustainability challenge in continental regimes

    Sustainability of programmes, and especially pensions, is key challenge.Responses go well beyond pensions to activation, for example: mobilising contributors now (especially women)child care services more than parental leaves that discourage labour force participation and other incentives to single-earner familiesAlso involves ensuring that next generation will not be dependent: focus on avoiding social exclusion, especially during the crucial childhood years.

  • Conclusions:

    Emergence of new policy blueprint, that is shifting the architecture of the welfare mix.Now is a moment where new hybrids may take shape that cross welfare regime types, and break with the principles of the past.Convergence around LEGO model as framing vision, but still divergence in implementation.Children and their families are the policy target, but the LEGO model does not only apply to children, any more than Fordism applied only to factory workers.