By Bronwen Cohen, Peter Moss, Pat Petrie, Jennifer Wallace
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Additional info for A New Deal for Children?: Re-forming Education and Care in England, Scotland and Sweden
And fare well in international comparisons in the areas of education, social welfare and health. (Kommittén Välfärdsbokslut, 2000, p 10) Once such benefits of high taxes are taken into account, and the private costs of alternative welfare regimes considered, it becomes less surprising that “the Nordic welfare states enjoy broad public support”. Moreover, “it is the universal nature of policies that has arguably contributed to this” – and universal policies rely on high taxation (Kommittén Välfärdsbokslut, 2000, p 10; emphasis in original).
A particularly strong critique came from feminist scholars, who argued that his typology paid too much attention to benefits and took little account of issues of care, which are of central importance to women. Esping-Andersen termed the three regimes of his original typology conservative, liberal and social democratic. We will here focus on the last two, since the UK has a liberal (or Anglo-Saxon) regime, Sweden a social democratic (or Nordic) one. Liberal welfare states are characterised by targeted public policies focused on low-income groups and perceived ‘market failures’, that is, where market mechanisms do not produce the required result – for example, the population deemed in need of a service cannot afford fees at the market rate.
But there is still not the same clear-cut and well-established division of responsibilities found in Sweden, in particular between policy formulation and implementation. Combined with less local decentralisation, this places much greater demands on English and Scottish government departments. At the same time, however, these departments are marked by a regular and frequent turnover in senior staff who are generalist civil servants: there is a constant churn of staff, with little opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of either the historical background of a policy or the issues that policy is meant to address.