Welfare spending in an era of globalization: the North-South divide
International Relations, 23, (1), . (doi:10.1177/0047117808100608).
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This paper examines the assertion that economic globalization has led to the decline of welfare spending in recent decades. Although it is often argued that the increasing intensity of globalization has led to such a decline in the industrialized states, the paper finds that there has been little, if any, downturn in either levels of state expenditure in general or in levels of welfare spending in particular. However, the experience of the developing states has been rather different. In their case, the last few decades indicate that stagnation or a decline in welfare spending has occurred, particularly during the period of structural adjustment implementation. It is argued that the OECD countries still manage to provide a high level of social welfare to their populations that closely resembles the compensatory state model. In contradistinction, many of the states in the South have struggled to maintain their levels of social expenditure and therefore most resemble Cerny's competitive state model. In order to explain these two divergent outcomes, the paper examines the way in which the behaviour of certain key international financial actors (investors, multinational companies, international financial institutions) differs with regard to these two sets of countries.
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