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What do workers want? Institutional complementarity as a mechanism of social change

Arie Krampf

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2019, vol. 15, issue 5, 881-896

Abstract: This article presents a theory of social protection expansion in late-developing open economies based on actors’ perceptions of complementarity. Drawing on recent theories of institutional change and political economic theories of welfare regimes, the article explains why in late-developing open economies, processes of liberalization often result in social welfare expansion. The explanation is based on the existence of institutional complementarity between the production regime and the social welfare regime. The article offers an agent-based theory of change according to which actors – state or market actors – are likely to promote welfare expansion amid their expectations of higher payoffs and/or improved performance of the liberalized economy. This theory challenges the more conventional Power Resource Theory, according to which welfare regimes are shaped primarily by the balance of power between workers and employers. To test the theory, the article analyzes the enactment of the unemployment insurance law in Israel (1972).

Date: 2019
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