Politics of Risk-Taking

Welfare State Reform in Advanced Democracies

Barbara Vis

Politics of Risk-Taking

Barbara Vis

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

248 pages | 6 3/10 x 9 1/2 | © 2010
Paper $54.95 ISBN: 9789089642271 Published August 2010 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

How much and in which direction have the welfare states among the Western democracies changed over the past decades? Moreover, under what conditions have governments enacted these changes? Based on insights from prospect theory, Barbara Vis demonstrates how socioeconomic or political setbacks affect a government’s view of risk—and thereby the degree and type of reform they pursue. This study’s new theoretical stance and innovative methodological approach make it a must read for those policymakers, scholars, and students interested in the politics of welfare state reform.


Tables and figures


1.                  The puzzle and its pieces

2.                  Fuzzy-set analysis

Part I    The Degree and Shape of Welfare State Reform

3.                  Radical change or much ado about nothing?

4.                  Which governments pursue reform and how much?

Part II  Explaining Welfare State Reform

5.                  What existing studies have to offer and why they fail

6.                  Bringing in prospect theory

7.                  Politics of risk-taking

Part III Conclusion

8.                  Risk-taking in welfare state reform: Summary and implications


Appendix A: Tables

Appendix B: Coding of the degree of unpopular reform pursued by British, Danish, Dutch and German Cabinets, 1979-2005

Appendix C: Coding of the political position of British, Danish, Dutch and German Cabinets 1979-2005




Review Quotes
Christoffer Green-Pedersen, University of Aarhus, Denmark

“Given the electoral risks, the question of why governments reform the welfare-state at all has long been in need of an answer. Based on prospect theory, Politics of Risk-taking offers and original answer. It is a must for anyone interested in the politics of welfare-state reforms.”

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Amsterdam University Press. RSS Feed