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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-4071

Häusermann, S; Mach, A; Papadopoulos, Y (2001). Changing Interactions between Corporatist and Parliamentary Arenas in Social Policy: Reform Processes in the Field of Swiss Pension Policy and Unemployment Insurance in the 90s. In: Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association, Fribourg, Switzerland, 8 November 2001 - 9 November 2001.



Pre-parliamentary negotiations between the corporatist actors are of central importance in Swiss social policy making, since it is generally in this arena that the main elements of the reform are decided. However, corporatist negotiations have become increasingly difficult during the last decade, because of Welfare retrenchment pressure, ideological polarisation, increasing media coverage and declining legitimacy of peak associations. We expect, thus, that it has become harder to reach compromises in the pre-parliamentary phase. Nevertheless, the threat of the failure of policy reforms in an optional referendum at the end of the decision-making process still fosters a pressure for compromise-seeking. Compromises between the social partners might therefore be replaced by inter-party agreements negotiated in the parliamentary phase.
In our paper, we test the hypothesis that the role of the parliamentary phase in social policy making has increased in the 1990s compared to the 1970s by comparing unemployment insurance and pension policy reforms in both periods. We find, indeed, that corporatist compromise-seeking has become more difficult and that a shift from pre-parliamentary bargaining to inter-party negotiation in Parliament has taken place. However, the logic of compromise-finding was quite different in the two cases. Whereas in the case of the unemployment insurance reform, the social partners were recalled by the MPs for a new round of negotiation which finally led to the consensual adoption of an innovative solution, in the pension reform, the final solution was elaborated by the representatives of the parties alone and consisted rather in a strategically tied up package of extensive and restrictive elements than to a consensual agreement.



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Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Event End Date:9 November 2001
Deposited On:16 Mar 2009 13:24
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:29

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