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The state of the German social insurance state: Reform and resilience

Abstract At the core of the German system of welfare provision stand social insurance schemes whose central role contributes to Germany being labelled a social insurance state. In recent decades, Germany has been experiencing major social policy reforms that are often evaluated as paradigm changes. These changes have been reflected in analyses that sometimes even questioned common classifications of the German welfare state. The article sheds light on recent developments that have affected the German system of social insurance. It focuses on four aspects of social insurance: benefits, financing, governance, and coverage. Although confirming many earlier analyses of reforms in detail and sharing assessments of changes such as retrenchment and marketization, the article nevertheless stresses that social insurance remains structurally intact and that the work–welfare nexus underlying welfare provision has been reinterpreted but not surrendered.

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