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Social Work Welfare State Theory
by
Neil Gilbert
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0002

Introduction

Public arrangements for social protection were conceived amid the decline of feudalism and the rise of industrial society. Prior to the 19th century many nations had assumed some public responsibility for the welfare of their citizens. The British Poor Law of 1601, for example, had codified efforts to establish local government responsibility for the relief of pauperism. But the birth of the modern welfare state is usually marked by the advent of social insurance in Germany under Bismarck during the 1880s. Most of Western Europe introduced social welfare programs prior to World War I, and the United States enacted national social insurance schemes during the Great Depression of the 1930s. These programs grew and matured, and by the dawn of the 21st century government spending on social welfare in the advanced industrialized nations averaged well over 20 percent of their gross domestic product. The literature on modern welfare states embodies a range of theoretical perspectives on the functions served by these systems of social protection, their conceptual boundaries, and the factors that have shaped their development.

General Overviews

The numerous issues and debates that frame the description and analysis of welfare state theory are covered in several works that offer a broad overview of this field of study. Descriptions and analyses are sometimes cast in terms of left- and right-wing political orientations (Pierson and Castles 2000) and redistribution of resources and relations between state and market (Titmuss 1974). Other dimensions to the debates include gender, ethnic diversity, modernization, and power (Leibfried and Mau 2008).

  • Leibfried, Stephan, and Staffan Mau, eds. 2008. Welfare states: Construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction. 3 vols. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

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    Surveys many of the central theoretical, empirical, and conceptual analyses in the welfare state literature since the mid-1970s. Volume 1 addresses functionalism, neo-Marxism, power resources, modernization, and sociopolitical issues. Volume 2 includes essays on conceptual definitions of the welfare state and the impact of globalization and Europeanization. Volume 3 reviews issues of gender, ethnic and social diversity, and welfare state outcomes.

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    • Pierson, Christopher, and Francis G. Castles, eds. 2000. The welfare state reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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      Illuminates some of the central theoretical issues and debates surrounding the development of the modern welfare state. The first section describes the modern perspective on the Left and the response from the Right. The second section reviews early 21st-century debates and issues. The final section anticipates the future course of welfare state developments.

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      • Titmuss, Richard. 1974. Social policy: An introduction. Edited by Brian Abel-Smith and Kay Titmuss. London: Allen and Unwin.

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        A collection of introductory lectures given by Titmuss at the London School of Economics. Among the topics covered is Titmuss’s well-known conceptualization of the residual, the industrial achievement performance, and the institutional redistributive model of welfare.

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        Anthologies

        In the late 20th and early 21st centuries a number of useful collections on the welfare state were edited that directly focus on central aspects of the different theoretical perspectives, including gender (Sainsbury 1994, Gilbert 2006), sociopolitical influences (Immergut, et al. 2007, Flora and Heidenheimer 2003), pressures of globalization (Esping-Andersen 1996), privatization (Johnson 1995), and convergence (Gilbert and Van Voorhis 2003). And with the advent of the European Union, a new analytic focus emerged around the questions of whether there is a European social model and the extent to which it might be differentiated from a United States social model (Alber and Gibert 2009).

        • Alber, Jens, and Neil Gilbert, eds. 2009. United in diversity? Comparing social models in Europe and America. New York: Oxford University Press.

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          Drawing on a team of interdisciplinary scholars from Europe and the United States, this volume systematically elaborates how much the United States and European countries have in common and how much variation exists within the enlarged European Union with regard to key dimensions of policy and societal well-being, including education, employment, political participation, welfare, and social expenditures.

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          • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta, ed. 1996. Welfare states in transition: National adaptations in global economies. London: Sage.

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            Examines how advanced and emerging welfare states in Latin America, East Asia, and Central Europe respond to socioeconomic pressures, including changing family structures, increasing international competition, accelerated globalization, and technological change. The essays illustrate the extent to which different regions emphasize alternative policy approaches, from social democratic to neoliberal designs.

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            • Flora, Peter, and Arnold J. Heidenheimer, eds. 2003. The development of welfare states in Europe and America. 6th ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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              Interprets the development of the welfare state from a functional perspective as a general response to modernization and differentiation and from a sociopolitical perspective as a response to social and political mobilization. Combines historical and interdisciplinary approaches to analyze the development of social security systems, education, and income inequality for various groupings of countries.

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              • Gilbert, Neil, ed. 2006. Gender and social security reform. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                Drawing on comparative studies of European and Latin American countries along with individual country case studies, this volume analyzes the gender implications of early 21st-century social security reforms, addressing such issues as are unisex life tables a reliable and equitable redistributive tool for women, how should care work be recognized in pension systems, and how does a minimum pension guarantee impact women.

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                • Gilbert, Neil, and Rebecca A. Van Voorhis, eds. 2003. Changing patterns of social protection. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                  Analyzing patterns of social welfare policy reforms in eight advanced industrial countries, this volume documents a series of common developments in the movement toward privatization, increasing use of measures designed to promote work, and the targeting of social benefits to those most in need.

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                  • Immergut, Ellen M., Karen M. Anderson, and Isabelle Schulze, eds. 2007. The handbook of West European pension politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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                    Offers a comprehensive study of European pension reforms in sixteen countries that is framed by a sociopolitical perspective focusing on political competition. A wide range of pension reforms is systematically analyzed in terms of the influence of political systems, the impact of interest groups, and the historical context.

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                    • Johnson, Norman, ed. 1995. Private markets in health and welfare. Oxford: Berg.

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                      Describes the growing role of private markets in the delivery and finance of social welfare provisions. The chapters reveal how governments influence the development of private provisions by offering financial support to for-profit enterprises, contracting arrangements and tax concessions, and regulating private welfare markets once they are established.

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                      • Sainsbury, Diane, ed. 1994. Gendering the welfare state. London: Sage.

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                        This book seeks to incorporate considerations of gender in the comparative analysis of welfare states by synthesizing the insights of feminist research. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the articles examine the mainstream welfare state frameworks under the lens of gender analysis.

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                        Social Welfare Data

                        There are several key sources of data regularly employed to measure the scope and changes in public spending on welfare state benefits. These “social expenditure” data are collected by various public and private agencies and are available for public use on the web (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Commission’s Eurostat, Luxemburg Income Study, U.S. Census Bureau). The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 2007 social expenditure database is the most frequently cited source. For an explanation and guide to these data, see Adema and Ladiaque 2005 and the Statistics report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

                        • Adema, Willem, and Maxime Ladiaque. 2005. Net social expenditure. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Social, Employment, and Migration Working Papers #29. Paris: Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation.

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                          Explains how the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development calculates gross and net social expenditures using direct public spending, mandated benefits, voluntary spending, and tax expenditures and subtracting direct and indirect taxes on benefits.

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                          • European Commission. Eurostat.

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                            This site provides social expenditures and other welfare-related data, such as labor market participation, educational achievement, and basic demographics, for the European Union countries.

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                            • Luxemburg Income Study.

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                              This site provides access to comparative data on welfare spending collected through the Luxemburg Income Study project.

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                              • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Social and Welfare Issues. Statistics.

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                                Up-to-date social expenditures by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development categories and totals for all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries are available here.

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                                • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2007. The social expenditure database: An interpretative guide SOCX 1980–2003. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2007.

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                                  This guide explains the cash and in-kind benefits that are included in the various Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development categories of social expenditure.

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                                  • U.S. Census Bureau.

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                                    The statistical abstract of the United States is available through the U.S. Census Bureau, which provides a wide range of data on social spending, welfare use, employment, and basic U.S. demographics nationally and by states.

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                                    Historical Development

                                    Historical analyses examine a wide range of ideas and social forces that have influenced the development of the modern welfare state. The literature here focuses on political policy-making processes (Skocpol 1995, Stoesz 2005), broad social and intellectual trends (Trattner 1999, Hacker 2006), goals of welfare (Briggs 1961), religious and secular ideas (Leiby 1978), technological and state-centered change (Wilensky and Lebeaux 1965, Tang 1999), and comparative experiences (Rimlinger 1971).

                                    • Briggs, Asa. 1961. The welfare state in historical perspective. European Journal of Sociology 2:221–258.

                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0003975600000412Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Examines the historical role of the welfare state as modifying the role of the market to improve citizen well-being. Identifies three fundamental goals of the welfare state as providing economic security against common risks of life, providing a basic floor of material sufficiency, and ensuring access to important services, such as education and health care.

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                                      • Hacker, Jacob S. 2006. The great risk shift. New York: Oxford University Press.

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                                        Analyzes how the crusade for personal responsibility launched in the 1980s eroded the social safety net in the United States and increased the risks faced by workers and families.

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                                        • Leiby, James. 1978. A history of social welfare and social work in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press.

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                                          Chronicles the development of social welfare institutions and professional social work in the United States. The central thesis concerns the tensions between religious motivations for charity and secular liberalism. The emergence of social welfare is analyzed as being shaped by religious and secular ideas.

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                                          • Rimlinger, Gaston V. 1971. Welfare policy and industrialization in Europe, America, and Russia. New York: Wiley.

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                                            Presents a comparative historical analysis of the forces that shaped modern social security systems in three cultural contexts: the Anglo-French and American, the German, and the Russian (from the czars to the Soviets). The study ranges from the preindustrial era to modern industrial society, focusing on the role of class relations, the nature of the political system, and the role of economic factors in the development of social protection.

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                                            • Skocpol, Theda. 1995. Protecting soldiers and mothers: The political origins of social policy in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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                                              An analysis of the development of social policy from 1880 to the 1920s, this volume offers a highly detailed and nuanced investigation of how the policy process is influenced by various groups, including women’s organizations, political parties, and unions.

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                                              • Stoesz, David. 2005. Quixote’s ghost: The right, the liberati, and the future of social policy. New York: Oxford University Press.

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                                                An analysis of how the underlying philosophy of the U.S. welfare state shifted from liberalism to conservatism between the 1980s and the beginning of the 21st century. Case studies of policy developments in welfare and children’s services highlight the trend.

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                                                • Tang, Kwong-Leung. 1999. Colonial state and social policy: Social welfare development in Hong Kong, 1842–1997. New York: University Press of America.

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                                                  An analysis of social welfare development in Hong Kong that empirically examines three schools of thought: the industrial society model, the state-centered theory, and the social democratic model.

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                                                  • Trattner, Walter I. 1999. From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America. 6th ed. New York: Free Press.

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                                                    A comprehensive account of the history of social welfare in the United States from the colonial period to the end of the 20th century. Trattner synthesizes developments over chronological periods and within a range of programmatic fields, including mental health, child welfare, public health, and antipoverty measures. His study is set against a backdrop of social and intellectual trends and is informed by the influence of the British experience on American social welfare policies.

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                                                    • Wilensky, Harold L., and Charles N. Lebeaux. 1965. Industrial society and social welfare. New York: Free Press.

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                                                      Focuses on the links between changes in technology, social structure, and social problems that accompanied industrialization. Traces the impact of technological changes on U.S. welfare services and provides a rigorous and descriptive analysis of two problem areas—family problems and juvenile delinquency—along with the development of social agencies and the social work profession.

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                                                      Theoretical Classifications

                                                      Welfare state theories have been classified and compared according to several dimensions, such as political ideologies, causal factors, conceptual boundaries, and chronological order. There is a body of literature that explores welfare state theory in the context of these dimensions, including political ideologies of the New Right, the middle way, democratic socialism, Marxism, feminism, and other “isms” (George and Wilding 1994, Holmwood 2000, Cerami 2006), causal explanations embedded in functionalism and sociopolitical processes (Mishra 1981, Gough 1978), and classifications that combine two or three of these dimensions (Van Voorhis 1998, Kvist and Torfing 1996, Bonoli 1997, and Midgley 1997).

                                                      • Bonoli, Guiliano. 1997. Classifying welfare states: A two-dimension approach. Journal of Social Policy 26.3: 351–372.

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                                                        Analyzes the advantages and shortcomings of classifications of welfare states based on different dimensions of social policy. The author proposes an alternative classification based on a two-dimensional approach, which incorporates elements of both the expansion and contraction and the convergence and divergence of European social policies.

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                                                        • Cerami, Alfio. 2006. Social policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The emergence of a new European welfare regime. Berlin: Verlag.

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                                                          An analysis of the factors that contribute to the emergence of post-communist welfare states in ten central and eastern European countries, highlighting the significance of cultural and institutional structures along with the role of international organizations.

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                                                          • George, Vic, and Paul Wilding. 1994. Welfare and ideology. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

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                                                            Analyzes how the modern welfare state is interpreted and the extent to which it is championed by six major ideological schools of thought: the New Right, the middle way, democratic socialism, Marxism, feminism, and greenism.

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                                                            • Gough, Ian. 1978. Theories of the welfare state: A critique. International Journal of Health Services 8.1: 27–40.

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                                                              Analyzes three major non-Marxist explanations of the modern welfare state—functionalist sociological theories, economic theories of government policy, and pluralist theories of democracy—and finds each wanting. The author concludes that the Marxist perspective offers the most fruitful approach to understanding welfare state development.

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                                                              • Holmwood, John. 2000. Three pillars of welfare state theory: T. H. Marshall, Karl Polanyi, and Alva Myrdal in defence of the national welfare state. European Journal of Social Theory 3.1: 23–50.

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                                                                Constructs a defense of the “national” welfare state, drawing on the theoretical contributions of Marshall’s concept of social rights, Polanyi’s critique of market relations, and Myrdal’s recognition of gender issues.

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                                                                • Kvist, Jon, and Jacob Torfing. 1996. Changing welfare state models. Centre for Welfare State Research Working Paper 5, Centre for Welfare State Research.

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                                                                  Analyzes historically dominant theoretical orientations toward the welfare state over three eras. The first is seen as a functionalist response to changing society that emphasizes the notion of convergence, the second is characterized by an emphasis on dissimilarity among welfare states, and the third emphasizes the rise of welfare pluralism.

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                                                                  • Midgley, James. 1997. Social welfare in global context. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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                                                                    Several chapters of this book deal with key theoretical debates in the field and the development of a typology that includes representational theories, theories of cause and function, and normative theories.

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                                                                    • Mishra, Ramesh. 1981. Society and social policy: Theories and practice of welfare. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

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                                                                      Analyzes five major perspectives on the relationship between the nature of society and social policy: welfare as social reform, welfare as citizenship, convergence theory, functionalist theory, and the Marxist viewpoint.

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                                                                      • Van Voorhis, Rebecca A. 1998. Three generations of comparative welfare theory: From convergence to convergence. European Journal of Social Work 1.2: 189–202.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/13691459808414739Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Employing a historical-evolutionary framework, this article identifies three generations of theory on welfare state development. The first is marked by the development of grand theories explaining the origin of the welfare state, the second focuses on empirical analysis to elaborate on the grand theories, and the third refines and extends discoveries from the second generation.

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                                                                        Functionalism and Convergence

                                                                        The functionalist perspective is one of the theoretical frameworks used to describe and explain modern welfare states. From this orientation, modern welfare states are seen as developing in response to large-scale social changes—urbanization, industrialization, family dislocation, demographic shifts, modernization (Gilbert 2002)—as new institutional arrangements emerge to perform the functions of social protection previously rendered by, for example, the extended family, church, informal relations, and feudal traditions (Marshall 1964). Functional explanations of the welfare state tend to emphasize the convergence of institutional designs for social protection (Ferge 1997, Overbye 1994, Wilensky 1975, Zijderveld 1999, Kangas 1994).

                                                                        • Ferge, Zsuzsa. 1997. The changed welfare paradigm: The individualization of the social. Social Policy and Administration 31.1: 20–44.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/1467-9515.00035Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Presents a cumulative review of the changes in objectives and operating principles of welfare states, characterized by the shift from an ideal type of the modern welfare state toward convergence to the neoliberal paradigm. The implications of this shift for social security in the “transition countries” of Central and Eastern Europe are examined.

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                                                                          • Gilbert, Neil. 2002. Transformation of the welfare state: The silent surrender of public responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.

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                                                                            Analyzes competing theories of how welfare states are shaped by social, political, and fiscal pressures. The study presents empirical evidence to illustrate how these forces are driving the transformation of industrial welfare states toward a similar model, which emphasizes work-oriented policies, privatization, targeting of benefits, and personal responsibility.

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                                                                            • Kangas, Olli. 1994. The merging of welfare state models: Past and present trends in Finnish and Swedish social policy. Journal of European Social Policy 4.2: 242–253.

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                                                                              Illustrates that countries that have been described as representing different welfare state models at specific points in time show clear signs of convergence when examined from a longitudinal perspective.

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                                                                              • Marshall, T. H. 1964. Class, citizenship, and social development. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

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                                                                                Explains the development of the welfare state as a manifestation of the social rights of citizenship that promised citizens minimum levels of welfare as the state emerged to serve functions previously performed by family and religious institutions.

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                                                                                • Overbye, Einar. 1994. Convergence in policy outcomes: Social security in perspective. Journal of Public Policy 14.2: 147–174.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0143814X0000742XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Offers a theoretical model of welfare state development that combines the utility maximizing behavior of public choice theory with structural influences of industrialization to explain convergence in public pension arrangements.

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                                                                                  • Wilensky, Harold L.1975. The welfare state and equality: Structural and ideological roots of public expenditure. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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                                                                                    Advances the findings of previous research by using path analysis to compare “welfare state effort,” measured as the level of social security spending as a percentage of the nation’s gross national product. The findings suggest that countries at the same economic level tend to converge in terms of general strategies for constructing minimum acceptable standards, irrespective of their political structures.

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                                                                                    • Zijderveld, Anton C. 1999. The waning of the welfare state. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                                                                                      Analyzing the balance among state, market, and civil society, the author develops a democratic triangle theory that points to the convergence of European and U.S. welfare states, leaning toward the American designs for social policy.

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                                                                                      Functionalism and Globalization

                                                                                      Whether it is seen as a progression to an advanced stage in the development of world capitalism or as a break with the past representing a qualitatively new form of capitalism, the process of globalization poses a new set of challenges to modern welfare states. If the welfare state functions in part as a mechanism to protect citizens from the vicissitudes of life in a capitalist economy, a fundamental change in the nature of capitalism is likely to prompt changes in the character of social protection. Since the 1990s efforts to understand the welfare state from a functionalist perspective (Rhodes 1996) have analyzed the implications of globalization for state-sponsored social protection (Standing 1999, Mishra 1999, Taylor-Gooby 1997), examining the potential impact on levels of spending (Bowles and Wagman 1997, Alber and Standing 2000) and convergence (George 1998, Montanari 2001).

                                                                                      • Alber, Jens, and Guy Standing. 2000. Social dumping, catch-up, or convergence? Europe in a comparative global context. Journal of European Social Policy 10.2: 99–119.

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                                                                                        An introduction to a special issue of the journal, this article analyzes a set of concerns, known as “social dumping,” often linked to the pressures of globalization. The essay provides a composite definition of social dumping and examines forms of dumping induced by governments. The authors summarize findings from four other commissioned articles, which examine four world regions, and conclude by identifying critical unanswered questions and future lines of research.

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                                                                                        • Bowles, Paul, and Barnet Wagman. 1997. Globalization and the welfare state: Four hypotheses and some empirical evidence. Eastern Economic Journal 23.3: 317–336.

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                                                                                          Considering the fiscal the implications of “globalism,” the authors examine four competing hypotheses on the relationship between globalization and the levels of spending on the welfare state: the “downward harmonization hypothesis,” the “upward convergence hypothesis,” the “convergence clubs hypothesis,” and the “globalization irrelevance hypothesis.” Their analysis of empirical data finds evidence for convergence of welfare spending among countries with similar political institutions.

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                                                                                          • George, Vic. 1998. Political ideology, globalisation, and welfare futures in Europe. Journal of Social Policy 27.1: 17–36.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0047279497005205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Demonstrates that in the last decade of the 20th century pressures of economic globalization and national structural factors had European governments on the Right and the Left pursuing similar policies, characterized by the containment and retrenchment of state welfare. This has led to the replacement of the dominant social democratic expansionist model with the neoliberal contractionist model.

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                                                                                            • Mishra, Ramesh. 1999. Globalization and the welfare state. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

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                                                                                              Analyzing the impact of globalization on full employment and the labor market, income distribution, taxation, and social protection in capitalist countries, the author finds that social standards have declined more in English-speaking countries than in continental Europe and Japan.

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                                                                                              • Montanari, Ingelill. 2001. Modernization, globalization, and the welfare state: A comparative analysis of old and new convergence of social insurance since 1930. British Journal of Sociology 52.3: 469–494.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/00071310120071142Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Analyzes tendencies toward convergence of social insurance systems in eighteen Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries between 1930 and 1990—a period over which these countries moved from predominantly agricultural societies to industrial or postindustrial market societies.

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                                                                                                • Rhodes, Martin. 1996. Globalization and West European welfare states: A critical review of recent debates. Journal of European Social Policy 6.4: 305–327.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/095892879600600403Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the author suggests that a broad perspective on political economy is required to understand the nature of challenges to the welfare state in a global economy.

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                                                                                                  • Standing, Guy. 1999. Global labour flexibility: Seeking distributive justice. New York: St. Martin’s.

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                                                                                                    Standing argues that globalization and flexible labor markets have increased insecurity and inequalities. His analysis suggests that global competition is intensifying pressures to scale back labor rights and the range of social benefits provided by welfare states.

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                                                                                                    • Taylor-Gooby, Peter. 1997. In defence of second-best theory: State, class, and capital in social policy. Journal of Social Policy 26.2: 171–192.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0047279497004996Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Various social forces, such as globalization and demands for labor market flexibility, require new adjustments in the modern welfare state, under which social spending is justified as investments in human capital. The author explains that despite increased demands for competitive advantage, policies developed under different welfare state regimes can yield different outcomes.

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                                                                                                      Sociopolitical Processes

                                                                                                      Theoretical analyses of the development of modern welfare states from a sociopolitical perspective tend to see them as emerging not so much in response to impersonal forces, such as industrialization, but from processes and interactions that involve the clash of interest groups, social classes (Korpi 1983, Piven and Cloward 1993, Mishra 1990, Baldwin 1989), power relationships (Clasen 2005), and the forces of political mobilization (Pierson 1994, Offe 1984). Political forces support the idea of “path dependent” constraints on policy reform (Hacker 2002), although some research indicates how reforms may reverse established policies (Bonoli and Palier 1998).

                                                                                                      • Baldwin, Peter. 1989. The Scandinavian origins of the welfare state. Comparative Studies in Society and History 31.1: 3–24.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S0010417500015644Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Analyzes the reasons for the development of Scandinavian welfare state policy, generally characterized by tax-financed universal provisions and attributed to the Nordic sense of social solidarity. Baldwin finds that these features of Scandinavian policy were the result of class interest disputes between the rising rural middle class and the urban elites.

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                                                                                                        • Bonoli, Guiliano, and Bruno Palier. 1998. Changing the politics of social programs: Innovative change in British and French welfare reform. Journal of European Social Policy 8.4: 317–330.

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                                                                                                          Although welfare state policies are often path dependent, following interests of their core constituencies that have developed over time, Bonoli and Palier analyze the British Social Security Act of 1986 and the 1995 French social security reform as innovative policy measures that moved these programs off their established paths.

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                                                                                                          • Clasen, Jochen. 2005. Reforming European welfare states: Germany and the United Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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                                                                                                            Analyzing the course of developments in British and German welfare states since the 1980s, this book identifies trends and explains similarities and differences in policies as influenced by power relations, party preferences, and institutional variables.

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                                                                                                            • Hacker, Jacob S. 2002. The divided welfare state: The battle over public and private social benefits in the United States. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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                                                                                                              Explains the development of the U.S. welfare state within the theoretical framework of “path dependency,” which emphasizes the importance of the historical path of social policies. Analyzing social security and health insurance, this work illustrates how policies implemented at earlier times constrain the options for later reforms.

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                                                                                                              • Korpi, Walter. 1983. The democratic class struggle. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                                                                                                                Examines class struggle as a decisive factor in the formation of a welfare state. Korpi argues that success in the modern class struggle depends upon strengthening of what he terms “power resources,” which involves establishing unions and work councils and participation in company decisions.

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                                                                                                                • Mishra, Ramesh. 1990. The welfare state in capitalist society: Policies of retrenchment and maintenance in Europe, North America, and Australia. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

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                                                                                                                  Drawing on the “democratic class struggle” as a theoretical framework, the author analyzes policies of retrenchment and maintenance in a comparative perspective. The study examines the extent to which the rhetoric of retrenchment has been implemented in practice as well as the extent to which social welfare benefits have been maintained in the face of increased international competition.

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                                                                                                                  • Offe, Claus. 1984. The contradictions of the welfare state. London: Hutchinson.

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                                                                                                                    This is the first collection of Offe’s essays to appear in a single volume in English. It focuses on his analyses of the breakdown of the postwar settlement, resulting in the crises of crisis management of welfare capitalist states. He argues that welfare states are no longer capable of managing the sociopolitical problems generated by capitalist societies.

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                                                                                                                    • Pierson, Paul. 1994. Dismantling the welfare state? Regan, Thatcher, and the politics of retrenchment. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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                                                                                                                      Argues that in the modern welfare state, the policy legacies of previous governments tend to be resistant to reform because political constituents develop as social programs mature.

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                                                                                                                      • Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard A. Cloward. 1993. Regulating the poor: The functions of public welfare. 2d ed. New York: Vintage.

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                                                                                                                        Analyzes the use of public relief as a mechanism to control the working classes by increasing benefits to avert civil unrest during economic downturns and reducing welfare to exert pressure on the workforce during periods of stability.

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                                                                                                                        Sociopolitical Perspectives and Welfare State Models

                                                                                                                        Rather than positing the convergence of welfare arrangements, analyses from the sociopolitical perspective tend to emphasize the distinct features of different types of welfare states (Esping-Andersen 1990), alternative regime types (Ferrera 1996, Leibfried 2000, Bradshaw and Terum 1997), party differences within a regime (Seeleib-Kaiser, et al. 2008), and welfare regimes emerging in East Asian countries (Walker and Wong 2005).

                                                                                                                        • Bradshaw, J. R., and L. I. Terum. 1997. How Nordic is the Nordic model? Social assistance in comparative perspective. Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare 6.4: 247–256.

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                                                                                                                          Conducting a critical analysis of the Nordic regime, the authors find substantial variations among these countries along with similarities among Nordic countries and other countries outside of Scandinavia that make it difficult to justify a classification of the Nordic model.

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                                                                                                                          • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. 1990. The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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                                                                                                                            Emphasizes the importance of working-class mobilization, class-political coalitions, and historical traditions in shaping different types of welfare regimes. The study findings cluster welfare states in eighteen Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries into three types of regimes—liberal, corporatist, and social democratic—that have become recognized and debated.

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                                                                                                                            • Ferrera, Maurizio. 1996. The “Southern model” of the welfare state in social Europe. Journal of European Social Policy 6.1: 17–37.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/095892879600600102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Identifies some common traits of the welfare states of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece based on similar institutional and political factors and explores the central issues (globalization, aging, unemployment) facing the “southern model.”

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                                                                                                                              • Leibfried, Stephan. 2000. Toward a European welfare state: On integrating poverty regimes into the European community. In The Welfare State Reader. Edited by Christopher Pierson and Francis Castles. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity, 190–206.

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                                                                                                                                Expanding the three regimes in Esping-Andersen 1990, Leibfried distinguishes basic characteristics among Germanic, Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, and Levantine regimes, the latter including the Latin Rim countries.

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                                                                                                                                • Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin, Silke van Dyke, and Martin Roggenkamp. 2008. Party politics and social welfare: Comparing Christian and social democracy in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Northampton, MA: Edward Elger.

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                                                                                                                                  Analyzes the extent to which party differences between Christian and Social Democrats have influenced the development of welfare policy since 1970 in three conservative welfare states. They find a programmatic convergence between parties in the areas of social security, unemployment, and family policies.

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                                                                                                                                  • Walker, Alan, and Chack-kie Wong, eds. 2005. East Asian welfare regimes in transition. Bristol, UK: Policy.

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                                                                                                                                    Examines the elements of welfare states in East Asian countries, sometimes characterized as “Confucian welfare states.” Studies in this book suggest that the explanatory power of Confucianism has been overemphasized in analyses of East Asian regimes. The editors argue that Confucianism has been used as a rhetorical device by political leaders. The editors detect no unified East Asian welfare state model.

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                                                                                                                                    Pluralism: the Public-Private Mix

                                                                                                                                    In contrast to functional and sociopolitical perspectives that seek to identify factors that influence the development of modern welfare states, the theoretical perspectives on welfare pluralism tend to be more descriptive in nature, seeking to delineate the borders of the public-private mix of social welfare (Titmuss 1958, Gilbert and Gilbert 1989, Johnson 1987, Howard 1997) and to specify how this mix shifts over time and its implications (Abramovitz 1986, Pedersen 2004, Rein and Rainwater 1986, Gilbert 1983).

                                                                                                                                    • Abramovitz, Mimi. 1986. The privatization of the welfare state: A review. Social Work 31.4: 257–264.

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                                                                                                                                      Examines how the purpose, form, and content of the privatization of social welfare have changed over time, leading to a greater role for private enterprise in a scaled-down welfare state. The author argues that privatization puts public dollars into private hands, strengthening the two-class welfare state and reproducing social inequalities.

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                                                                                                                                      • Gilbert, Neil. 1983. Capitalism and the welfare state: Dilemmas of social benevolence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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                                                                                                                                        The author analyzes the shifting boundaries of the social market of the welfare state as it merges with the economic market. He finds that the influx of profit-making organizations and schemes to stimulate competition among social welfare providers inclines the modus operandi of social welfare transactions toward that of a market economy, creating pressures for the commercialization of the social market.

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                                                                                                                                        • Gilbert, Neil, and Barbara Gilbert. 1989. The enabling state. New York: Oxford University Press.

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                                                                                                                                          Analyzes the shift from a public-oriented welfare state toward what the authors designate as the “enabling” state, which emphasizes public support for private responsibility. Provides a detailed examination of the increasing development of alternative modes of social welfare financing and production through the use of indirect transfers via tax expenditures, credit subsidies, voluntary benefits, and the privatization of service delivery.

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                                                                                                                                          • Howard, Christopher. 1997. The hidden welfare state: Tax expenditures and social policy in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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                                                                                                                                            Shows that direct public expenditures reflect only part of the social provisions of the welfare state, the part that goes largely to protect those in need. The author illuminates how the tax system generates a range and a substantial level of financial subsidies, which for the most part benefit home owners, employers, and employees.

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                                                                                                                                            • Johnson, Norman. 1987. The welfare state in transition: The theory and practice of welfare pluralism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

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                                                                                                                                              Shows how welfare states accommodate a variety of welfare providers, including the state, voluntary agencies, private markets, and informal networks. The book analyzes the problems involved in transferring responsibility for welfare provisions from the state to the other sectors in a comparative context.

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                                                                                                                                              • Pedersen, Axel West. 2004. The privatization of retirement income? Variations and trends in the income packages of old age pensioners. Journal of European Social Policy 14.1: 5–23.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0958928704039782Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                This study of nine countries shows that pensioners rely on a mixture of public and private income. Findings indicate that the share of retirement income taken up by private sources of income has been rising since 1980. The author notes that changing the balance between public and private provision has implications for increasing inequality.

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                                                                                                                                                • Rein, Martin, and Lee Rainwater. 1986. Public/private interplay in social protection: A comparative study. Amonk, NY: Sharpe.

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                                                                                                                                                  Seeks to expand the conceptual boundaries of the welfare state to include all forms of social protection. Differentiating between the public (welfare) state and the private sector and between social protection and production, the authors present a comparative analysis of quantitative data for the United States and Europe.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Titmuss, Richard Morris. 1958. Essays on “the welfare state”. 2nd ed. London: Allyn and Bacon.

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                                                                                                                                                    A collection of ten lectures given by Titmuss, including his often-cited analysis of the social division of welfare. According to Titmuss, a complete accounting of the welfare state incorporates a broad range of activities well beyond publicly sponsored goods and services. He identifies three systems of welfare: social, occupational, and fiscal.

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                                                                                                                                                    Gender Perspectives on the Welfare State

                                                                                                                                                    From the feminist perspective, the conventional welfare state theories are seen as focused too narrowly on income maintenance (unemployment, pensions, disability programs) for male breadwinner workers and lacking a gender lens for examining their impact on working women, mothers, and family life (Lewis 1992, Orloff 1993, O’Connor 1993). Starting in the 1990s the feminist critique of mainstream welfare theories along with the recognition of significant changes in family structure and gender roles opened a new perspective on welfare state analyses (Kornbluh 1996), which directed attention to questions regarding gender equality, how men and women fare under different welfare systems (Sainsbury 1996), caregiving (Knijn and Kremer 1997), and the development of policies to reconcile work and family life (Esping-Andersen 1999, Guo and Gilbert 2007, Gilbert 2008, Gornick and Meyers 2003).

                                                                                                                                                    • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. 1999. Social foundations of post-industrial economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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                                                                                                                                                      In response to the gender critiques of welfare theory, this book revisits the model of welfare state regimes developed in The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Esping-Andersen 1990; see Sociopolitical Perspectives and Welfare State Models) and seeks to assess the extent to which these models represent alternative approaches to family policy. Measures of family services and child care are employed to define the concept of “defamilialization.”

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                                                                                                                                                      • Gilbert, Neil. 2008. A mother’s work: How feminism, the market, and policy shape family life. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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                                                                                                                                                        Argues that women’s choices about child rearing have been made in a social context heavily stacked against motherhood. The main lines of analysis show how the culture of capitalism undervalues the economic worth of child rearing, feminist expectations overestimate the benefits of labor force participation, and family-friendly policies of the welfare state are more friendly to the economic market than to family life.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Gornick, Janet C., and Marcia K. Meyers. 2003. Families that work: Policies for reconciling parenthood and employment. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                                                                                                                          Presents a highly detailed survey describing family policies in the United States, Canada, and European countries. Findings show the U.S. policies lag far behind efforts made in other countries. The authors argue for expanding family policies in the United States to achieve the level of support provided in other Western nations.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Guo, Jing, and Neil Gilbert. 2007. Welfare state regimes and family policy: A longitudinal analysis. International Journal of Social Welfare 16.4: 307–313.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2007.00480.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Analyzing the relationship between welfare state regimes and measures of defamilialization from a longitudinal perspective, this study examines the extent to which there are significant differences in levels of spending on family policy among the regime models and how these vary over time.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Knijn, Trudie, and Monique Kremer. 1997. Gender and the caring dimension of welfare state: Toward inclusive citizenship. Social Politics 4.3: 328–361.

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                                                                                                                                                              A comparative analysis of how care is organized in Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The authors analyze four central dilemmas of care: care as public or private responsibility, care as paid and unpaid work, care as a form of dependence or independence, and care as the right of caregivers or of care receivers.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Kornbluh, Felicia A. 1996. The new literature on gender and the welfare state: The U.S. case. Feminist Studies 22.1 171–197.

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                                                                                                                                                                Surveys the intellectual landscape of the emerging analyses on gender and the welfare state, examining both the strengths and the weaknesses of this literature. Argues that “maternalism” should be seen essentially as a political philosophy that describes a relationship of mutual obligation and respect between mothers and their governments.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Lewis, Jane. 1992. Gender and the development of welfare regimes. Journal of European Social Policy 2.3: 159–173.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/095892879200200301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Notes that historically the idea of the male-breadwinner family model has been reflected in the various established typologies of welfare regimes. Explains how the consideration of the private domestic unpaid work is crucial to a gendered understanding of welfare, since women have typically gained entitlements by virtue of their dependent status within the family as wives and mothers.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • O’Connor, Julia S. 1993. Gender, class, and citizenship in the comparative analysis of welfare state regimes: Theoretical and methodological issues. British Journal of Sociology 44.3: 501–518.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/591814Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Explains how the incorporation of gender into welfare state analyses entails a broadening of conventional definitions of political mobilization and a modification of the welfare state regime concept based on mobilization of the power resources. Notes that the concept of decommodification, which is a central marker of welfare state regimes, should be extended to include insulation from personal or public dependence.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Orloff, Ann Shola. 1993. Gender and the social rights of citizenship: The comparative analysis of Gender relations and welfare states. American Sociological Review 58:303–328.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2095903Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Develops a conceptual framework to incorporate gender considerations into power resource analyses of welfare states. Suggests that analyses of state-market relations be extended to include the provision of welfare through families, that the analysis of social provisions include the treatment of paid and unpaid labor, and that the benefits that decommodify labor have differential effects on men and women that should be identified.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Sainsbury, Diane. 1996. Gender, equality, and welfare states. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Analyzes how men and women are affected by welfare state policies in the United States, Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, with a particular focus on the ways policies perpetuate the gendered division of labor in the family. Examines policies that alter gender relations and suggests approaches for increasing equality between women and men.

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