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THE PERFORMANCE OF WELFARE SYSTEMS IN POSTCOMMUNIST EUROPE: THE CASES OF ROMANIA AND BULGARIA

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Author(s): Ileana Tache | Cristina Neesham

Journal: International Journal of Economics and Research
ISSN 2229-6158

Volume: 02;
Issue: 05;
Start page: 90;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: CEE countries | minimalist | older EU

ABSTRACT
Understanding the welfare system and the sources of its performance has become a priority for social policy makers in Central and Eastern Europe. In contrast with the impressive literature on the economic transition from communism to capitalism in this part of Europe, the transformation of welfare and social policies after communism has remained largely unexplored. Moreover, while the research so far has focused mainly on theVisegrad states and the Baltic states, Bulgaria and Romania have attracted considerably less interest. Hence,important data and relevant studies on the latest EU members are still missing. This paper brings together key data available on the socio-economic performance of the two countries, with a view to acquiring an integrated understanding of the impact of various economic, social and political factors on the state of welfare provision in these countries. We identify here the specific features of the current social model that appears to operate inBulgaria and Romania, in the broader context of comparing CEE and older EU members along key socialwelfare indicators. We then discuss the political context and welfare system developments in the two countries in the period of transition. Following this background, we analyse social welfare performance in Bulgaria and Romania using thirteen relevant indicators. The study concludes with an emphasis on the urgent need for a strategic rethinking of the social model in the region. In this context, based on past performance, a move away from a liberal ‘minimalist’ welfare state model is recommended.

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