Left Governments and Unemployment Insurance: A Mixed Methods Study of Contemporary Welfare States

This thesis inserts new evidence into an ongoing academic debate about the relevance of power resources theory in contemporary welfare states. On the one hand, power resources theory claims that ‘power relations between labor and capital and left governments’ political representation of working-class interest influences the generosity of welfare state provisions. On the other hand, the politics of retrenchment and a new electoral landscape imply that the space for political partisanship in unemployment policy has diminished or altogether disappeared since the late 20th century. My pooled time series analysis supports the later claims, but my case study of Sweden finds significant political partisan effects on unemployment insurance generosity. Future research may determine whether the Swedish case is an exception to an ongoing trend in contemporary welfare state studies or if it points towards a more nuanced understanding of social policy changes.