Project Project
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English version and Chinese translation of "Die Reformfähigkeit der Sozialdemokratie"

2007 - September 2008
Routledge/Institute of World Socialism, Bejing, China

Book project

English Version

Wolfgang Merkel, Alexander Petring, Christian Henkes, and Christoph Egle
Social Democracy in Power. The Capacity to Reform
Routledge Research in Comparative Politics
London/New York: Routledge 2008
309 pages, £75.00
ISBN: 978-0-415-43820-9

Chinese Translation

Wolfgang Merkel, Alexander Petring, Christian Henkes, and Christoph Egle
Shehui Minzhu Dang de Gaige Nengli: Xiou Liuguo Shehui Minzhu Dang Zhizheng Zhengce Bijiao
[Social Democratic Capacity to Reform: Comparing Governmental Policy of Six Social Democratic Parties in Western Europe]
Translation by Tong Jian-Ting
Chongqing: Chongqing Publishing House 2009
402 p., 45,00 Yuan
ISBN: 978-7-229-01172-7


Globalization, European integration, and social change have devaluated traditional social democratic policy instruments. This book compares and explores how social democratic governments have had to adapt and whether they have successfully managed to uphold old social democratic goals and values in the light of these challenges.

This volume examines the policy measures of social democratic parties in government in a comparative framework. The authors focus on traditional social democratic goals and tools, in particular, fiscal, employment, and social policy, in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. They identify three policy patterns in social democratic governments: traditional, modernized, and liberalized social democracy and provide a comparative account of the explanatory power of the national context for policy adopted by social democratic parties.

Although in some cases differences in policy and performance between the six governments correspond to the programmatic position of the social democratic party, they are primarily attributable - in this order - to the specific structure of national party competition, to the behaviour of trade unions, and to institutional veto points.