Inequality and Prosperity: Social Europe vs. Liberal America / Edition 1

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Overview

What are the relative merits of the American and European socioeconomic systems? Long-standing debates have heated up in recent years with the expansion of the European Union and increasingly sharp political and cultural differences between the United States and Europe. In Inequality and Prosperity, Jonas Pontusson provides a comparative overview of the two major models of labor markets and welfare systems in the advanced industrial world: the "liberal capitalist" system of the United States and Britain and the "social market" capitalism of northern Europe. These two models balance concerns of efficiency and equity in fundamentally different ways. In the 1990s the much-heralded forces of globalization (together with demographic changes and attendant political pressures) seemed to threaten the very existence of the social-market economies of Europe. Were the social compacts of Sweden and Germany outmoded? Would varieties of capitalism remain possible, or were labor-market and social-welfare arrangements converging on the U.S. norm? Pontusson opposes the notion of inevitable convergence: he believes that social-market economies can survive and indeed flourish in the contemporary world economy. He bases his argument on an enormous amount of highly specialized research on eighteen countries, using national-level data for the last thirty years. Among the areas he explores are labor-market dynamics, income distribution, employment performance, wage bargaining, firm-level performance, and the changing possibilities for the welfare state.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jonas Pontusson's new book rates with the finest work in comparative political economy. He tackles the old question of the presumed trade-off between equality and economic growth with fresh ideas and a mass of data and compellingly demonstrates that the institutions of northern European social market economies can produce employment and growth without the inequality characteristic of Anglo-American liberal market economies."—John Stephens, Gerhard E. Lenski Professor of Political Science and Sociology, University of North Carolina

"Jonas Pontusson makes a consistent and convincing argument against conventional wisdom that there is always a trade-off between equity and efficiency, showing that liberal market and social market economies face different challenges and must find different solutions to their problems. Most significant, however, he makes a very strong case that social market economies have a great many advantages over liberal market economies."—Vivien A. Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, Boston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801489709
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2005
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Political Economy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
1 Rethinking the trade-off between growth and equality 1
2 Varieties of capitalism 15
3 Income distribution and labor markets 32
4 Employment performance 67
5 Macro-economic management and wage bargaining 95
6 Participation, security, mobility, and skills 114
7 Welfare states, redistribution, and economic growth 142
8 Welfare states in retrenchment 182
9 Direction for progressive reform 204
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