An invitation to debate ecology, art, human development and enlightenment
The infrastructure and style of implementing social services may be shaped by several diverse factors, including social and cultural norms, constitutional rights, and party politics. In Development and Crisis of the Welfare State: Parties and Policies in Global Markets (Huber & Stevens, 2001) the authors define the single most important factor that brought about a strong welfare state in the West post-WWII: the political dominance of either the social democratic or Christian democratic party. This argument, bolstered by extensive historical and quantitative analysis of nine welfare states, contradicts previous theories that pointed to balanced class power as the primary force for national social services development.
Furthermore, I believe Huber & Stevens’ hypothesis opens welfare state theory to topics in New Institutional Economics: if political parties are the penultimate source of different schemes of welfare development or retrenchment, what are the institutional norms and patterned behaviors that bring about their different policies?