This book explores the politics, institutional dynamics, and outcomes of neoliberal restructuring in Israel. It puts forward a bold proposition: that the very creation of a neoliberal political economy may be largely a state project. Correspondingly, it argues that key political conflicts surrounding the realization of this project may occur within the state. Neoliberal restructuring and the institutionalization of permanent austerity are dependent on reconfigured
power relations between state actors and are manifested in a new institutional architecture of the state. This architecture, in turn, is the context in which efforts to change social and employment policies play themselves out.
The volume frames the coming of neoliberalism in Israel as a set of concrete and far-reaching changes in the power and modes of operation of the key players in the political economy. These changes undermined and neutralized veto players and enabled the ascendance of two state agencies - the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank - which gained greatly augmented authority and autonomy. These reconfigurations were set in motion by state initiatives that combined punctuated and incremental
change. The volume comprises case studies of changes in specific social and labor market policies, revealing a close elective affinity between programmatic neoliberal changes on the one hand, and on the other the proactive drive of the Ministry of Finance to enhance its control over public spending and
policy design. The book explores successful neoliberal reforms but also reforms that were blocked, undermined, or overturned by opposition, emphasizing the importance of reformers' capacity to translate temporary achievements into entrenched strategic advantages.
Asa Maron is a Lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Haifa. Previously he held postdoctoral positions at Stanford University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is a political sociologist specializing in the sociology of the welfare state and neoliberalism, with an emphasis on the transformation of the state, its politics, institutional dynamics, and consequences for statesociety relations. He has published in Law & Society Review, Administration & Society, Social Policy & Administration, and Mediterranean Politics. Michael Shalev is a political sociologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a visiting at the University of California at Berkeley. His primary research interests are in the political economy of Israel and rich democracies generally, focusing on the politics of social and economic policy, social stratification, and the socio-economic underpinnings of political action. He is the author of Labour and the Political Economy in Israel (1992) and editor of The Privatization of Social Policy? (1996). He has published in World Politics, Socio-Economic Review, Social Forces and other journals. His recent research is on the mass protests of 2011 in Israel and Southern Europe.
PART 1. TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE KEY ACTORS; PART 2. NEOLIBERALISM AND SOCIAL POLICY REFORM; PART 3. NEOLIBERALISM AND THE CASUALIZATION OF EMPLOYMENT