J. Timo Weishaupt
Germany after a decade of Social Democrats in government: the end of the continental model?

German Politics, 2010: 19, Heft 2, S. 105-122

In this paper, it is argued that Germany has undergone a series of large-scale institutional changes under eleven years of Social Democratic governance, weakening all of its core Continental principles and effectively triggering a process of regime hybridization. Elements of these reforms include the recalibration of its labour market governance system, as well as a two-fold path-correction toward (a) a Nordic ideal type through the introduction of an activation pillar, a comprehensive, state-led childcare strategy, and a desire to improve lifelong learning opportunities, and (b) a liberal welfare ideal type through the curtailment of status-preserving privileges, increased benefit conditionality, and (more hesitantly) a move toward a relaxation of employment protection legislation, especially for labour-market ‘outsiders’. As the path corrections toward the Nordic ideal type came far too late in the Social Democrats’ reign, the party leadership lost the trust of many voters, its party base, and the union movement.