Social Policy & Administration vol:48 issue:2 pages:149-168
This article deals with the evolution of a quasi-market system in the employment services in three countries: Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Based on an in-depth analysis of the reform process over the past two decades, we arrive at the observation that Australia and the Netherlands, unlike Belgium, make comparable choices when restructuring this policy domain, although there context of a welfare state is different. Secondly, the new structures in those countries which have made the same choices are seen to evolve differently after only a short period of time. This article argues that no convergence towards the same competitive market model is to be found. It provides an institutional explanation by tracing elements of a new system logic which entered the existing structure and identifying change mechanisms which generate a cumulative process of smaller changes.