INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND POLICY CHANGE: PENSION REFORMS IN BELGIUM, FRANCE, SWEDEN, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM.
This dissertation seeks to answer the question: what impedes/drives policy change? This objective is sought by analyzing the policy process behind recent pension reforms in four European countries (Belgium, France, Sweden and the UK). Despite similar pressures, policy responses have been quite varied. The UK and, to a lesser extent, Sweden have introduced substantial changes to their pension system (programmatic reforms) while France and Belgium have resorted to altering existing parameters (parametric reforms) to resolve the same issue. The dissertation offers an institutional model, comprised of two ordering principles, to explain this divergence. The first ordering principle states that the type of administrative structure associated with public pension schemes defines the strength and legitimacy of actors in the reform process. More specifically, the presence of social partners in the reform process, as a result of their management and financial roles, constrains governments to adopt parametric reforms while their absence is more conducive to a reform that can overhaul the pension system. The second ordering principle claims that the higher the number of veto players (political parties) required to pass a legislation the less likely programmatic reforms are to occur. Based on these two ordering principles, a typology of policy change is created. It is argued that a high number of veto players can still result in a substantial change if the political parties are able to carry legislation without external influence, but will likely result in policies near the status quo if social partners are involved.
Advisor:Mark Hallerberg; Professor B. Guy Peters; Alberta M. Sbragia; Donald Savoie
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:03/10/2003