A Case Study of the European Welfare System Model in the Post-communist Countries—Poland
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Jagiellonian University
Publication date: 2009-06-30
Polish Sociological Review 2009;166(2):273-296
The paper on European welfare regimes and policies presents common and shared features of the social development of the post-communist countries that are members of the EU today. This will provide a basis for an attempt to assess if there is a single regime for those countries that distinguishes them from the three classical (and later four) regimes of the Esping-Anderson classification, or if there is an affinity to one of those models en bloc, or if there is similarity to one of the regimes, but in a different way for each of the new EU members. This attempt will be made primarily on the example of Poland, but with salient references to other countries in the group. The basis of the thoughts presented here is that of a project on Diversity and Commonality in European Social Policies: The Forging of a European Social Model (Golinowska, Hengstenberg, Żukowski 2009). Considerations and analysis done in the paper lead into conclusions that social policy development in the new member states is characterized by a one social model distinguishing them differently than according to the Esping-Andersen classification, in spite of a some differences in the outcome of the social policy being pursued. Similarities are mainly of an institutional character, resulting from both the similar past and the similar challenges connected with the systemic transformation towards the democratic system and market economy. In the future this specificity may fade and integration within the EU will cause a Europeanization of social policy of member states, but now this process is not sufficiently advanced.
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