Emergency welfare states in action : Social policy adaptations to COVID-19 in the Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|Social Policy & Administration
|MU Faculty or unit
|COVID-19; Czechia; Hungary; Slovakia; social policy changes
|This article analyses the developments of the welfare state'sreaction to the pandemic in Czechia, Hungary and Slovakiaduring 2020–2022, asking whether the changes in socialpolicy represent only temporary responses to the challengesof the pandemic, or if the changes will likely lead to long-run transformative changes in social policies. All three coun-tries applied emergency adaptive changes to some extentexcept for job protection, as the short-time work schemesrepresent a permanent change in Czechia and Slovakia. Fur-thermore, the absorption capacity of the welfare state wasrelatively good, which enabled the countries to avoid thenegative social impacts of the crisis in terms of increasedunemployment, poverty, and social exclusion. We argue thegovernments did not introduce permanent third-orderchange because they already introduced such changes dur-ing the transition to the market economy in which theyintroduced a low-expenditure welfare state trajectory. Dur-ing the pandemic, this trajectory limited their fiscal spacefor introducing reforms that could radically expand the wel-fare state. Policy learning and political constellations alsohad some influence.