Political Studies Review

"Pieter Vanhuysse’s book takes a fresh look at social policies in post-communist Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. It addresses the question of why, despite the severe social hardship of post-communist transformation, East European societies hardly engaged in distributive struggles and protest. The book’s main claim is that policy makers in the region clearly understood the potentially explosive situation and strategically adopted social policies to ‘divide and pacify’ the working population. Thus Hungary and Poland, amid a steep transformational recession, adopted generous pension policies which allowed an important share of the working population to exit from the labour market by means of early retirement or disability pensions. … This stands in contrast to the Czech development, where reformers initially prevented layoffs through softer budgetary constraints and therefore were able to avoid the pitfalls of a pensioners’ welfare state.. …The book is well structured and written, and it adds an original argument to the literature on postcommunist social policies."
Reviewed book: 
Pieter Vanhuysse
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