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Mutual Sickness Insurance and National Health Insurance in England and the Netherlands between 1870 and 1915

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Fink-Jensen, Jonathan
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10354
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Europe
Abstract: "Comparative research on the interconnected developments of mutualism and state-organised social security further enables us to acquire new insights on how our welfare states and their crises have developed over time. A comparative approach is important because it allows us to challenge national conventions on peculiarity and normality within those frameworks, thus problematising any notion that the ‘rise of the welfare state’ was a historical process that inevitably led to the current systems. Finally, a comparison across different European social security systems helps us to distinguish not only how state action has influenced further developments of mutual insurances, but also how different traditions of mutualism have contributed to diverging social security systems. Following these considerations, in this paper I will trace and compare if and how mutual sickness insurers contributed to offering social security and to developing social policy in England and the Netherlands between 1870 and 1915. Many mutual insurance associations offered insurance against a combination of two or more different concurrent risks, but sickness is a particularly interesting research topic because of the relative feasibility of organising mutual insurance in terms of low, mostly short-term, and predictable costs (i.e. medical costs and sickness benefits) – although costs have been rising dramatically over the twentieth century."

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