Title

Between ideas, institutions and interests : analyzing third way welfare reform programmes in Germany and the United Kingdom

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Social Policy

Publication Date

4-1-2008

Volume

37

Issue

2

First Page

207

Last Page

230

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Abstract

This article examines the policy detail of welfare state reform agendas in two countries in which self-proclaimed ‘Third Way’ governments have been in power – Germany and the United Kingdom – in order to explore the competing influences on social policy of an ostensibly common set of ideas and contrasting institutionalised policy legacies. In so doing, it assesses the analytic utility of Bevir and Rhodes’ ideationally rooted interpretive approach against institutionally rooted claims of path dependency. It concludes that while the interpretive approach rightly stresses the need for a stronger focus on ideas as an explanation for policy change, the detail of actual Third Way policy reforms can only be understood from within the two nations’ institutionalised policy legacies. In addition, it argues that policy networks have had a considerable influence on reform trajectories too. The article advocates a closer synthesis of perspectives centred around ideas, interests and institutions in order to further our understanding of processes of policy change.

DOI

10.1017/S0047279407001717

Print ISSN

00472794

E-ISSN

14697823

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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Full-text Version

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Recommended Citation

Hudson, J., Hwang, G.-J. and Kühner, S. (2008). Between ideas, institutions and interests: Analyzing third way welfare reform programmes in Germany and the United Kingdom. Journal of Social Policy, 37(2), 207-230. doi: 10.1017/S0047279407001717