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The German low-wage sector in a welfare state comparison
In the typology of welfare states of Esping-Andersen, Germany belongs to the conservative welfare states. This type has a medium level of decommodification, while social-democratic states have a high and liberal regimes a low level. Based on this typology, one can derive the theoretical expectation that the low-wage sector should be smaller in social-democratic and conservative welfare states than in liberal regimes because its size is seen as an indicator for the effort of the state to decommodificate. However, the empirical findings in the case of Germany do not fit in with the theoretical assumptions about the relation of conservative welfare state, the level of decommodification and the size of the low-wage sector. Instead of a small or medium extent of low-wage employment, Germany has a low-income sector with the size of a liberal welfare state despite its high level of decommodification. Among conservative welfare states, Germany therefore is not a typical phenomena which is the puzzle of the dissertation project. It wants to find out the political-institutional determinants of the growth of the low-wage sector. The focus is twofold: One the one hand, it is asked which actual policies do influence the development of the low-wage employment, but also, why these policies are implemented. The research question is conducted based on a most similar systems design, which includes a qualitative comparison of the cases of Germany, Belgium and France.