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The Boundary Conditions for Regulation: Welfare Systems, State Traditions and the Varied Governance of Work Safety in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Accepted/In press5 Mar 2019
E-pub ahead of print27 Jan 2020
PublishedJan 2020


King's Authors


Studies of the relationship between the welfare and regulatory state have hitherto either focused on the latter displacing the former (Majone,1997), or presented regulation as an alternative means for achieving welfare goals (Levi-Faur,2014). Little is known, however, about their varied mutual interactions. This paper addresses that gap by examining the co-evolution of workers’ compensation and occupational safety regulation in Germany, France, U.K. and Netherlands. Drawing on an extensive international analysis of primary documents, secondary literature and interviews with regulator, insurance, business and labor representatives, the paper identifies strikingly varied but stable national preferences for: a) the use of financial vs. regulatory instruments; and b) the allocation of regulatory responsibilities between state and nonstate actors. The paper presents a novel explanation of that variation as dependent on the relative coherence of interactions between the particular cost-control logics of welfare provision and wider norms and traditions of state action in each country.

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