A Critical Comparison of the Dutch, Scandinavian, Swiss, Australian and Irish Cases versus Germany and the United States
The very positive economic and particularly employment development that took place in the decade up to 2001 (or even longer) in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia and, since the second half of the 1990s, Finland and Sweden has been at the centre of much recent discussion in comparative political economy. Because this development contrasts markedly with near stagnation in France, Germany and Italy, it has been characterised in terms of ‘miracles’ and ‘models’. The Netherlands and Denmark attracted the most attention because their strong employment growth and employment stabilisation at very high levels, respectively, occurred in the framework of welfare systems that are still comparatively generous and that clearly differ from the usa and the uk. In the latter two countries, high employment and low unemployment went together with levels of inequality and poverty not (yet?) acceptable in the northwest of the European continent.