This paper presents a series of innovative, pooled time-series, cross-section (TSCS) regression models for 18 OECD countries (1971–2001) to explore the impact of executive ideology alternation and constitutional structures on welfare state change. Unlike other approaches in comparative welfare state research, the models specified in this paper focus not on the content or direction, but on the extent of change. Interaction effects between executive ideology alternation and constitutional structures are emphasized. The paper suggests that the effect of party ideology is particularly strong in political systems that concentrate power in the executive. In these systems, ideological differences from one cabinet to another lead to considerable policy change. Contrarily, systems with considerable degrees of consensus-based policy making are not only characterized by lower levels of welfare state change, but ideological differences of successive cabinets are more likely to lead to policy gridlock.
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