Welfare State Development
- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0053
- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0053
The modern welfare state originated in industrializing Europe, in the English system of “poor laws” that supplemented private and church-based charity, and more fully, in the workers’ social security system established by Bismarck in 19th-century Germany. Welfare provision in Europe expanded after both world wars, growing into systems that provided publicly funded social insurance, health care, education, income security, and family supports, with the United States seen as a “welfare laggard” in comparison with European systems. In the industrial democracies the welfare state experienced its golden age of expansion in scope and generosity from 1945 to 1980. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, globalization, demographic change, and other factors have produced pressures for retrenchment. Scholarship initially focused on Organisation for Economi Co-operation and Development (OECD) welfare states and entitlements linked to formal employment, then extended to include Communist and developing states, women and “care work,” and broader issues of global stratification, privatization and informalization, clientelism, and nonstate provision.
All welfare states use public expenditures to provide social security and services, but the states vary significantly in levels of spending, programmatic structures, relations with labor markets, and distributive effects. Welfare states both result from and in turn structure class and social orders and systems of stratification. Scholars have focused on conceptualizing types and identifying clusters—welfare state regimes and families in Europe (Esping-Andersen 1990, Castles 1993), and insecure, productivist, and protectionist regimes in the developing world (Gough and Wood 2004, Rudra 2008). Titmuss 1987 provides a historical overview; Castles 2010 provides an early-21st-century overview. Sen 1999 proposes a reconceptualization of welfare, from provision to capability.
Castles, Francis G., ed. Families of Nations: Patterns of Public Policy in Western Democracies. Aldershot, UK, and Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth, 1993.
A historical-cultural approach to explaining differences across Western welfare states; the authors identify “families of nations”—English speaking, German speaking, and Scandinavian speaking—and argue that shared cultures produced similarities in policy approaches and outcomes.
Castles, Francis G., Stephan Leibfried, Jane Lewis, Herbert Obinger, and Christopher Pierson. The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State. Oxford Handbooks in Political Science and International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Authoritative source on all aspects of welfare states—philosophical foundations, emergence, development, models and conceptualizations, actors, institutions, policies, attitudes, gender, migration and minorities, influence of the European Union, and international organizations. Focused on the OECD, includes emerging welfare states in Latin America, East Asia, and eastern Europe.
Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Seminal study that reconceptualized welfare states, identifying three distinct welfare regime types in the OECD—liberal, conservative, and social democratic—and explained their origins based on political power resources and historical and institutional factors. Esping-Andersen’s welfare regimes and “decommodification index” served as touchstones for many later studies.
Gough, Ian, and Geof Wood. Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America: Social Policy in Development Contexts. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
First major attempt to extend conceptual analysis of welfare regimes to developing states in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Authors use concepts of “informal security regimes” and “insecurity regimes” to capture reliance on family and community, clientelistic, precarious, often futile strategies for meeting basic needs. Welfare effects of international dependencies, migration, and so on are included.
Rudra, Nita. Globalization and the Race to the Bottom in Developing Countries: Who Really Gets Hurt? Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Conceptually innovative study that extends analysis of welfare regimes to the more or less successfully developing states of India, Brazil, and Korea, finding qualified support for the “race-to-the-bottom” argument and identifying new typologies of productivist, protectivist, and dual developing-country welfare models.
Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom. New York: Knopf, 1999.
Nobel Prize–winning economist argues for a “capability” approach to human welfare that places freedom at the core of development, emphasizing people’s fundamental need for material, political, and social means to counter poverty and realize their potential. Sen presents a major alternative to the standard view of development as economic growth.
Titmuss, Richard. The Philosophy of Welfare: Selected Writings of Richard M. Titmuss. Edited by Brian Abel-Smith and Kay Titmuss. London: Allen and Unwin, 1987.
Introduction to Richard Titmuss’s influential normative theories and broad-ranging empirical research on welfare states, including categorizations of welfare programs and models and limits of redistribution.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Arms Race Modeling
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Big Data in Political Science Research
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Ideological Reasoning in Politics
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of India
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics