Southern Europe has been hit hard by the global economic crisis and, as such, their welfare states have come under acute strain. Unmet need has sharply increased while significant welfare reforms and deep social spending cuts have been prominent in the crisis management solutions implemented by governments, labouring under EU constraints and the strict rescue-deal requirements for Greece and Portugal.
This volume provides a systematic comparative appraisal of welfare-state reform trajectories across Southern Europe prior to and during the crisis, and traces the impact of austerity policies and wider recession upon income inequality and poverty. It brings together a number of cross-country studies on major social policy areas, raising crucial questions. What policy choices are driving reforms as Southern European economies work their way out of fiscal difficulty? Can the crisis provoke the improvement of institutional capabilities and recalibration of social? Or, instead, does structural adjustment indicate a significant policy turn towards the erosion of social rights? The contributions critically approach these issues and bring evidence to bear upon whether Southern European welfare capitalisms are becoming more dissimilar.
This book was originally published as a special issue of South European Society & Politics.
Maria Petmesidou is Professor of Social Policy at Democritus University of Thrace, Greece. She is a fellow of Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) and the International Social Science Council. Ana Marta Guillen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oviedo, Spain. She is co-chair of Espanet-Spain.
1. Can the Welfare State as We Know It Survive? A View from the Crisis-Ridden South European Periphery Maria Petmesidou & Ana M. Guillen 2. Reassessing South-European Pensions after the Crisis: Evidence from two Decades of Reforms David Natali & Furio Stamati 3. South European Healthcare Systems under Harsh Austerity: A Progress-Regression Mix? Maria Petmesidou, Emmanuele Pavolini & Ana M. Guillen 4. `Social Investment' or back to `Familism': The impact of the Economic Crisis on Family and Care Policies in Italy and Spain Margarita Leon & Emmanuele Pavolini 5. Welfare Performance in Southern Europe: Employment Crisis and Poverty Risk Rodolfo Gutierrez 6. The Distributional Impact of Austerity and the Recession in Southern Europe Manos Matsaganis & Chrysa Leventi