This comprehensive textbook is the first to go beyond a western European perspective and provide a clear overview of European politics. Authors Jan-Erik Lane and Svante O. Ersson address the similarities of key political features among states in western, central, eastern, northern, and southern Europe and look forward to political developments toward the turn of the century. European Politics provides a thorough analysis of several converging key themes, including the nature of the state, party systems, and the formation of government and public policies. With this approach to economic, social, and political aspects of politics in Europe this major text presents a Europe that—within the context of reform—transition, and integration, has more in common in the early 1990s than ever before. With a clear thematic structure and helpful discussions of data drawn from 31 countries, European Politics offers both an accessible and genuinely comparative text that will be essential reading for students and researchers alike.
The Public Sector
Politics includes more than the constitution (Chapter 5), the party system (Chapter 6) and the government (Chapter 7). In this chapter we broaden the analysis by looking at public policies, which in the European context are much focused on the welfare state. What kinds of public expenditures are there in the European public sector and how do they vary from one country to another?
Measuring the public sector in a country presents several problems about reliable and valid indicators. We employ money measures exclusively. The Communist legacy in Eastern Europe makes the public-private sector distinction ambiguous there, as many people still work in state enterprises that would normally be private in Western Europe, although the various privatization strategies reduce public employment.