The Remaking of Leviathan: The State and Public Sector Reform in Advanced Capitalist Countries

  • John Peters
Keywords: labour policy, public administration, labour unions, public welfare, inequality


This article argues that recent comparatives literatures on the welfare state have yet to adequately consider the public sector and how governments have reshaped their public services. Drawing on macro-level data from the OECD, qualitative studies, and trade union research, it is claimed that governments have substantially remade their administrative and financial procedures in order to cut expenditures and lower labour costs. It is also contended that because of financial globalization and rising debt, states have made a series of reforms to public sector industrial relations. These have worsened wages, working conditions, and jobs throughout the public sector. It is concluded that such developments are central to reforming the nature of state functioning across North America and Western Europe. This is the first study to report on government reforms to fiscal policies, public sector services, and public sector labour forces in 13 OECD countries between 1980-2005.