Social Democrats and Neo-liberalism: A Case Study of the Australian Labor Party

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Title Social Democrats and Neo-liberalism: A Case Study of the Australian Labor Party
Author Lavelle, Ashley David
Journal Name Political Studies
Editor Matthew Festenstein and Martin Smith
Year Published 2005
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Abstract Social democratic parties have been agents in the neo-liberal transformation of public policy in recent decades. There has been debate about the reasons why social democrats have embraced market policies, with particular emphasis given to ideological trends, globalisation and electoral factors. This paper aims to shed further light on this debate by examining the case of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), which was a prominent social democratic exponent of neo-liberalism during its time in office in the 1980s and 1990s. In Labor's case, the primary cause of the shift from pledging social reform and interventionist government to neo-liberalism was the lower levels of economic growth that followed the end of the post-war boom in the 1970s. Social democrats rely on strong economic growth to fund redistributive policies. Thus when recession occurred in the 1970s it eroded the economic base to Labor's programme. While this paper focuses on the story of the ALP, it may provide some answers as to why social democrats elsewhere have adopted neo-liberalism.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
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Copyright Statement Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at []
Volume 53
Issue Number 4
Edition December
Page from 753
Page to 771
ISSN 0032-3217
Date Accessioned 2006-03-11
Language en_AU
Faculty Griffith Business School
Subject Comparative Government and Politics
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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