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  • Open Access
  • © 2020

Governing Social Protection in the Long Term

Social Policy and Employment Relations in Australia and New Zealand

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Makes the case for a more holistic concept of social protection that gives equal weight to both social security/welfare and employment relations/industrial relations

  • Analyses how the international and local policy literatures portray Australia and New Zealand as social protection regimes in different periods

  • Traces developments to the present day and accounts for the hitherto separate literatures of employment relations and social policy, while also considering scholarship which is blind to the disciplinary divide.

Part of the book series: Global Dynamics of Social Policy (GDSP)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xi
  2. Governing the Work–Welfare Relationship

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 1-39Open Access
  3. A Relationship Dominated by Employment Relations

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 41-85Open Access
  4. Consolidating the Relationship

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 87-122Open Access
  5. Complicating the Relationship

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 123-156Open Access
  6. Restructuring the Relationship

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 157-198Open Access
  7. Meeting in the Middle

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 199-224Open Access
  8. International Implications

    • Gaby Ramia
    Pages 225-240Open Access
  9. Back Matter

    Pages 241-281

About this book

This open access book examines the comparative evolution of social protection in Australia and New Zealand from 1890 to the present day, focusing on the relationship between employment relations and social policy. Utilising longstanding and more recent developments in historical institutionalist methodology, Ramia investigates the relationship between these two policy domains in the context of social protection theory. He argues that treating employment relations as dynamic, and as inextricably intertwined with changes in the welfare state over time, allows for more accurate portrayal of similarity and difference in social protection.


The book will be of most interest to researchers, advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in social policy, employment relations, public policy, social and political history, and comparative politics.



  • social harm
  • the free market
  • employment and welfare
  • labour market
  • industrial relations
  • Open access


“Governing Social Protection in the Long Term stands as a pillar of comparative and historical analysis within the welfare state field. Gaby Ramia’s book is without doubt the single most important contribution to our understanding of the Australian and New Zealand welfare regimes since Castles’ Working Class and Welfare in 1985. What is particularly impressive is Ramia’s ability to tease out the historical interplay – or dialects if you wish – between changes in the world of employment and in social policy. This is a must-read book for any serious social policy scholar.” — Professor Gosta Esping-Andersen, University of Pompeu Fabra, Spain


“This book sheds important historical and cross-national comparative light on the development trajectories of two often-misunderstood welfare regimes – Australia and New Zealand. It is a must-read for anyone excited about the past, present and future of social policy.” — Professor Nicola Yeates, The Open University, UK

“Here, Gaby Ramia rethinks the evolving relationship of work and welfare in Australia and New Zealand and suggests new ways of approaching the history of social protection. This illuminating and richly contextualised account will be valuable not only to students of political and policy history, but also to other social scientists interested in the complex story of divergence and convergence that characterises industrial relations and social welfare in these two antipodean democracies.” — Professor Frank Bongiorno, Australian National University, Australia


 “The social protection and employment regimes of Australia and New Zealand have long been recognised as ‘special’.   In this carefully-crafted historical and comparative analysis, Gaby Ramia bring us a wealth of new insights into this special relationship, showing us how these two cases have changed through time, and diverged quite as much as they have overlapped.  It is essential reading for those who want to understand how the relationship between employment and welfare regimes really works.” — Professor Chris Pierson, University of Nottingham, UK


“Australia and New Zealand remain terra incognita for most welfare scholars, despite their pioneering social policies. Gaby Ramia charts the evolution of their welfare states and, critically, their interaction with and dependence on their employment systems. He thus usually updates and amends Francis Castles original mapping of the Antipodes.” — Professor Herman Schwartz, University of Virgina. USA


“In this concise book, Gaby Ramia explores the relationship between social policy and employment relations in Australia and New Zealand. His historically grounded and theoretically informed comparative analysis draws attention to the importance of employment relations for social policy development. This excellent book is must read for students of social policy in Australia and New Zealand and for comparative policy scholars interested in the interface between social policy and employment relations.” — Professor Daniel Béland, McGill University, Canada

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Government & IR, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Gaby Ramia

About the author

Gaby Ramia is Associate Professor in Public Policy at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, Romania. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Governing Social Protection in the Long Term

  • Book Subtitle: Social Policy and Employment Relations in Australia and New Zealand

  • Authors: Gaby Ramia

  • Series Title: Global Dynamics of Social Policy

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-42053-6Published: 01 July 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-42056-7Published: 18 September 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-42054-3Published: 30 June 2020

  • Series ISSN: 2661-8672

  • Series E-ISSN: 2661-8680

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 281

  • Topics: Social Policy, Sociology of Work, Political Sociology

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)