Critical Juncture of Unification – Window of (missed) opportunity for the German Welfare State?

Marlene Walk

Abstract

The unification of West and East Germany posed tremendous challenges for the German welfare state. This paper conceptualizes this unification as a critical juncture in German history and critically explores the chosen path of institutional transfer of the social services and health care system from West Germany to the new East German parts, with a particular focus on the early 1990s. The role of free welfare associations (FWAs) in the unification process and in the formation of a unified nonprofit sector is analyzed, drawing on the concept of path dependency. An analysis of alternative solutions is presented.


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