Bringing Power Back in: A Review of the Literature on the Role of Business in Welfare State Politics

MPIfG Discussion Paper 15/3

43 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2015 Last revised: 17 Apr 2015

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

What is the impact of business interest groups on the formulation of public social policies? This paper reviews the literature in political science, history, and sociology on this question. It identifies two strands: one analyzes the political power and influence of business, the other the preferences and interests of business. Since the 1990s, researchers have shifted their attention from questions of power to questions of preferences. While this shift has produced important insights into the sources of the policy preferences of business, it came with a neglect of issues of power. This paper takes a first step towards re-integrating a power-analytical perspective into the study of the role of business in welfare state politics. It shows how a focus on variation in business power can help to explain both why business interest groups accepted social protection during some periods in the past and why they have become increasingly assertive and averse to social policies since the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

Paster, Thomas, Bringing Power Back in: A Review of the Literature on the Role of Business in Welfare State Politics (April 1, 2015). MPIfG Discussion Paper 15/3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2588617 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2588617

Thomas Paster (Contact Author)

Roskilde University ( email )

Universitetsvej 1
P.O. Box 260
Roskilde, DK-4000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.thomaspaster.wordpress.com/

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