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Chapter 17 Welfare Policies. Linda Hantrais. Welfare Policies. Why study European welfare policies? Conceptualising, theorising and measuring welfare Differentiating national social welfare systems Developing European social welfare competence and legitimacy

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Chapter 17 welfare policies l.jpg

Chapter 17Welfare Policies

Linda Hantrais


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Welfare Policies

  • Why study European welfare policies?

  • Conceptualising, theorising and measuring welfare

  • Differentiating national social welfare systems

  • Developing European social welfare competence and legitimacy

  • European integration, globalisation and welfare convergence


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Why study European welfare policies?

  • Lens through which to examine European integration

  • Key to understanding economic policy

  • Part of wider relationship between national welfare systems and wider processes of European integration/globalization


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Conceptualising Welfare

  • Social welfare refers to collective provision of resources to protect against risk/need and to improve living standards

  • The state is key in delivering these resources

  • Inter-related with economic system


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Theorising Welfare

  • Social democratic perspectives emphasize universality of needs

  • Neo-liberals promote minimal provisions

  • Third way looks for alternatives to state welfare

  • Feminists argue that welfare is gendered to the disadvantage of women


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Measuring Welfare

  • Nationally-specific measurements make cross-national comparisons difficult

  • On average, 25% of GDP in EU15

  • Welfare funded differently in different countries

  • Impact of welfare systems also varies across countries


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Differentiating national welfare systems

  • Differentiated in terms of decommodification (Esping-Andersen):

    • Social democratic welfare regimes

    • Conservative/corporatist welfare regimes

    • Liberal welfare regimes

  • Southern European and Eastern European member states struggle to fit into this scheme


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EU welfare systems

  • Original 6 member states – corporatist welfare regimes

  • 1970s and 1990s enlargement has shifted the EU towards social democratic welfare regime

  • However, UK has moved towards liberal regime

  • Southern European welfare states rely heavily on self-provision by family members

  • 2004 CEECs have adopted a hybrid system


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Developing social welfare competence and legitimacy

  • EEC social policy originally intended to support common market

  • By 1990s, social policy gaining greater legitimacy, but still as support for economic integration

  • UK vetoed social policy chapter in Maastricht Treaty

  • Governments have moved to a softer approach to social policy, esp. OMC


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European integration, globalization and welfare convergence

  • Economic integration has not reduced path dependent diversity between states

  • Social integration is becoming more necessary, so preventing ‘race to the bottom’

  • National policies/institutions mediate common pressures, producing divergent outcomes

  • National diversity remains in place


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