Conclusion: The Influence from Below—How Organized Interests and Public Attitudes Shape Welfare State Reforms in Europe
The concluding chapter of this edited volume summarizes the key findings across policy areas and countries. Drawing on the analytical approach to study the role of organized interests and public opinion in the political economy of welfare state reform, the conclusion discusses the main findings. First, it scrutinizes the claim that welfare states are persistent, pointing at the slow erosion of welfare support. Second, it considers whether postmodern social groups and intergenerational conflicts have superseded the labour-capital cleavage. Third, it looks at organized interests’ role in representing their members’ interests vis-à-vis their organizational strategies in influencing policy making. Fourth, it reviews the importance of institutions and values in shaping public opinion and organized interests. The conclusion also reviews some methodological innovations on how to study the linkages between organized interests and public opinion. Finally, the editors draw some societal and policy implications.