Fiscal policies, social spending and economic performance in France, Germany and the UK since 1970
in In search of social democracy

This chapter examines the post-1970 development of social policy, its fiscal implications and economic consequences in France, Germany, and United Kingdom. Of the three major economies, Germany has gradually dismantled its consensual corporatism as companies swing towards shareholder returns and away from social responsibility and France has also slowly liberalised. The chapter investigates differences in economic performance: the question is whether the less generous levels of social benefits, and relative fiscal prudence, have generated better economic performance in the United Kingdom than in its two main European competitors. France and Germany have relatively high unemployment and structural fiscal deficits and both governments are attempting adjustments to their welfare regimes and labour markets to enable both unemployment and deficit levels to be lowered. Demands for spending have resulted in a persistent budget deficit that remains at 1.5-2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product even at the top of the economic cycle.

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In search of social democracy

Responses to crisis and modernisation

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