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This book challenges existing theories of welfare state change by analyzing pension reforms in France, Germany, and Switzerland between 1970 and 2004. It explains why all three countries were able to adopt far-reaching reforms, adapting their pension regimes to both financial austerity and new social risks. In a radical departure from the neo-institutionalist emphasis on policy stability, the book argues that socio-structural change has led to a multidimensional pension reform agenda. A variety of cross-cutting lines of political conflict, emerging from the transition to a post-industrial economy, allowed governments to engage in strategies of political exchange and coalition-building, fostering broad cross-class coalitions in support of major reform packages. Methodologically, the book proposes a novel strategy to analyze lines of conflict, configurations of political actors, and coalitional dynamics over time. This strategy combines quantitative analyses of actor configurations based on coded policy positions with in-depth case studies.
About the Author
Silja Häusermann is Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. She has been a visiting Fellow at Harvard University and a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She was awarded the Ernst B. Haas Best Dissertation Prize of the European Politics and Society section of the American Political Science Association, the Jean Blondel Ph.D. Prize of the European Consortium for Political Research, the Junior Scientist Award by the Swiss Political Science Association, and the Young Researcher Prize by the Journal of European Social Policy and the European Social Policy Analysis Network. She has published articles on comparative welfare state analysis, public opinion and welfare states, and the Europeanization of national politics, in journals such as the European Journal of Political Research, the Socio-Economic Review, European Societies, the Journal of European Social Policy, and the Journal of European Public Policy.