Week 2: The Three Worlds of Welfare State Capitalism

State institutions are now preoccupied with the production and distribution of social well-being. To study the welfare state is to understand a novel phenomenon in the history of capitalist societies. But there is significant qualitative variation in how states organise the distribution of welfare. Even if expenditure is the same in some countries, their distinct historical characteristics will shape outcomes.

This lecture reintegrates the study of the welfare state into political economy and, using Esping Andersen, identifies three distinct organisational logics that reflect three regimes of democratic capitalism: liberal, conservative and social democratic. Central to how these operate is the extent to which they a) embed social rights of citizens independent of market forces, b) lead to social stratification such as widening income and status differentials and c) create employment opportunities.

The full lecture can be found here

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