Keywords: Comparative welfare state analysis, Continental welfare states, Pension policy, France, Germany, Switzerland
This article tries to provide a theorization and empirical analysis of
the politics of gradual transformative change: How are political majorities
built? Under what conditions is incremental path-shifting
change possible or likely to occur? The results show three points: a)
Policies are multidimensional and actors of a same subsystem pursue
different goals. b) Actors can combine these different dimensions in
ways as to allow for political exchange, and for the formation of variable
reform coalitions. And c) the success of such mechanisms of
exchange and coalition-building depends on the institutional framework.
Empirically, the article analyzes major pension reforms in
France, Germany and Switzerland in the 1990s.