"This outstanding book both challenges and advances existing theories of policy processes in industrial democracies. Through the very important case of welfare policy, Häusermann shows that policy change does occur (thus the challenge to the immobility view), and that social structural shifts drive policy change (thus the challenge to the primacy of institutions view). She does this with rigorous methodology and data to show how governments can lead in forming strategies of political exchange and coalition building, grounding the importance of leadership and choice in the context of social influences over time. This result is a model of political analysis that reaches beyond the specific country and issue area to a general analysis of political processes. To be read by everyone!"
- Peter Gourevitch, University of California, San Diego
"Silja Häusermann's The Politics of Welfare State Reform in Continental Europe is an original, powerful work. Häusermann contends that even in an era of austerity, when pension reform politics are said to be constrained by path dependence and policy feedback effects, paradigmatic changes to pensions are still possible - and even likely, under some circumstances. The book's great strengths are the novelty and the grand scope of its argument, the forceful argumentation, and the skillful use of content analysis to code relevant actors' positions on a large number of pension reform proposals in France, Germany, and Switzerland as evidence in support of the theory. This is a tremendously ambitious, and tremendously successful, first book."
- Julia Lynch, University of Pennsylvania
"This study starts with a thorough class-analysis of post-industrial societies and then shows how socioeconomic change has translated into new political preferences for risk protection and how political actors formed surprising coalitions and introduced new policies in response to these changed demands. Methodologically innovative, theoretically highly compelling - Silja Häusermann takes us through the entire political-economic cycle and provides us with a masterful account of the new politics of the welfare state. An impressive piece of scholarship."
- Philip Manow, University of Heidelberg
"Silja Häuserman has written a pathbreaking book that sets new theoretical and methodological standards for the study of comparative social policy. Her careful empirical analysis identifies the new political cleavages formed during the reform of existing welfare states and the institutional conditions that facilitate policy compromises both among political parties and among social actors. This book should be required reading for political economists and students of the welfare state in not only advanced industrialized economies but also developing countries."
- Isabela Mares, Columbia University