ABSTRACT

If there is a single ‘conclusion’ to this book, it is that ‘globalization matters’ – but that the impact of GEPs inevitably differs depending on institutional context. The institutional foundations of the mature welfare regimes are in flux partly because a range of contingent factors – some concentrated in one country, others such as population ageing having a wider impact – have challenged the capacity of postwar welfare systems to deliver the appropriate goods and services to the right populations in a cost-effective manner and this has in turn challenged prevailing assumptions about the role and nature of welfare itself. But these factors have not emerged in an economic and political context where the resources or political will exist to develop new goods and services, and new forms of delivery, by recourse to higher taxation and insurance contributions, and/or an increased role for the state. By themselves contributing to a global economic environment conducive to tighter budgets, GEPs constrain available options by raising the political and economic costs to national governments of pursuing ‘tax and spend’ strategies. In this way they ‘condition’ and ‘frame’ decision-making and policy outcomes within the globalinstitutional nexus.