Markets in the Welfare State

Markets in the Welfare State (graduate)

The traditional role of the welfare state is to protect citizens from market risks in various aspects of their lives, from sickness and unemployment to old-age. Since the 1980s, this traditional role of the welfare state has been redefined, as governments have introduced different degrees of marketization in various social policy domains. In this course, we will examine the various ways in which governments have created new welfare markets by focusing on three policy domains: health care, education and pensions. We will focus in particular on the tensions that arise between the government’s role as market regulator versus its responsibilities for the provision of social welfare. To this end, we will consider the importance of institutional design in shaping the behavior of market actors (e.g. private providers or consumers), the influence of interest groups on governmental regulation and oversight (e.g. business associations, labor unions, consumer organizations), and the impact of marketization on social welfare and the public budget. We will analyze cases from the Netherlands and other European political economies.