Postcommunist welfare states : reform politics in Russia and Eastern Europe /
Linda J. Cook.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2007.
xiv, 268 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
9780801445262 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2007.
9780801445262 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Old welfare state structures and reform strategies -- Non-negotiated liberalization : decentralizing Russia's welfare state and moving it off-budget -- Contested liberalization : Russia's politics of polarization and informalization -- Welfare reform in Putin's Russia : negotiating liberalization within the elite -- Comparing postcommunist welfare politics in Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-06-01:
Cook (Brown Univ.) is one of the foremost experts on communist and post-communist social policy. In this book, she links theory and praxis by arguing and presenting evidence that differences in social policy outcomes in post-communist regimes depend more on political factors than on economic ones. She looks at the roles of different political actors and state capacities. Cook sets as a baseline the old welfare state structures and policies and examines various strategies for change and their impacts in the post-communist transition. Her case studies focus primarily on Russia, with chapters on: levels of budget support for social expenditures; the changing roles of such political actors as organized welfare constituencies, parties, the legislature, executive, state bureaucracies, and international financial institutions; and outcomes negotiated between pro-reform liberalizers and anti-reform welfare state stakeholders under Putin until 2003. A single chapter is used to examine similar processes and results in four other post-communist states (Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Belarus). The evidence presented confirms Cook's arguments that economics has not been determinative and that politics shapes differing responses by post-communist states to economic recessions and recoveries. In sum, levels of state capacity shape the type of welfare state that emerges. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. D. V. Schwartz University of Toronto
Review Quotes
"In Postcommunist Welfare States, Linda J. Cook offers an innovative application of welfare state theory to explain the variable trajectories of welfare states in Russia and the other postcommunist states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Her mastery of the political economic contexts and experiences as well as social policy changes in these systems is impressive."-Duane Swank, Marquette University
"Linda J. Cook is the leading expert on the subject of welfare state policies and politics in Russia and in the postcommunist sphere more generally. In Postcommunist Welfare States, she argues that political, rather than economic or social, factors determine the effectiveness of policy reforms. Her detailed discussion of a wide range of social policies is a tremendous asset and makes this book a valuable and lasting resource."-Thomas Remington, Emory University
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Choice, June 2008
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Bowker Data Service Summary
In the early 1990s, the countries of the former Soviet Bloc faced an urgent need to reform the systems by which they delivered broad, basic social welfare to their citizens. This text exposes the politics and policy of social welfare from 1990 to 2004 in the Russian Federation, Poland, Hungary, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Main Description
In the early 1990s, the countries of the former Soviet Bloc faced an urgent need to reform the systems by which they delivered broad, basic social welfare to their citizens. Inherited systems were inefficient and financially unsustainable. Linda J. Cook here explores the politics and policy of social welfare from 1990 to 2004 in the Russian Federation, Poland, Hungary, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Most of these countries, she shows, tried to institute reforms based on a liberal paradigm of reduced entitlements and subsidies, means-testing, and privatization. But these proposals provoked opposition from pro-welfare interests, and the politics of negotiating change varied substantially from one political arena to another. In Russia, for example, liberalizing reform was blocked for a decade. Only as Vladimir Putin rose to power did the country change its inherited welfare system. Cook finds that the impact of economic pressures on welfare was strongly mediated by domestic political factors, including the level of democratization and balance of pro- and anti-reform political forces. Postcommunist welfare politics throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, she shows, are marked by the large role played by bureaucratic welfare stakeholders who were left over from the communist period and, in weak states, by the development of informal processes in social sectors.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Welfare States and Postcommunist Transitionsp. 1
Old Welfare State Structures and Reform Strategiesp. 31
Non-negotiated Liberalization: Decentralizing Russia's Welfare State and Moving It Off-Budgetp. 55
Contested Liberalization: Russia's Politics of Polarization and Informalizationp. 99
Welfare Reform in Putin's Russia: Negotiating Liberalization within the Elitep. 145
Comparing Postcommunist Welfare State Politics: Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Belarusp. 193
Conclusion: Negotiating Welfare in Democratic and Authoritarian Transitionsp. 239
Indexp. 257
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