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The New Context of Welfare: State of the Art Paper for the FPV Project: Welfare Reform and the Management of Societal Change.

Taylor-Gooby, Peter and Daguerre, Anne (2004) The New Context of Welfare: State of the Art Paper for the FPV Project: Welfare Reform and the Management of Societal Change. Project report. European Comission, Luxemburg (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:4722)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief review of comparative research on welfare

reform in Europe and to justify the approach taken in the WRAMSOC project.

BACKGROUND: REVIEW OF RELEVANT COMPARATIVE RESEARCH

Three questions are of central importance in comparative welfare state studies: what is

welfare in a capitalist society? How do you study it? and how do you understand welfare

state change? - object, method and process. The first two questions received most attention

during the early development of the area of study, for the simple reason that welfare states

seemed to be developing on a smooth trajectory of growth. In recent years the obvious

challenges to welfare states have generated interest in understanding change, and focused

attention more on the third - what are the factors causing welfare states to change and how do

they operate?.

The post-war trajectory of welfare state studies started out with simpler approaches to both

object and method that steadily grew more sophisticated, aided by improvements in the

quality and availability of data. Welfare was defined initially in terms of state spending on

defined services or ‘welfare effort’(Wilensky and Lebeaux, 1958). Over time this notion

broadened to include output and outcome measures in terms of recipients of services and

benefits and impact on issues such as inequality or labour market participation. The

information used initially relied on official data on spending, but later expanded to include a

range of measures of economic, political and social activity (growth rates, participation of

business, unions and other groups in politics, impact on family and household structure). A

wider range of methods including more sophisticated statistical techniques and, later,

qualitative approaches from political science and sociology were used. One outcome of

growing complexity was that researchers began to move away from unidimensional

approaches to understanding welfare systems and to realise that politics (both party politics

and ‘power resources’), institutional structure, different varieties of capitalism and differences

in social structure make a difference to the operation of welfare systems. The problem that

now arises is that so many disparate issues have become relevant to the understanding of

welfare policies that research is extremely difficult to conduct successfully.

Item Type: Monograph (Project report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2008 10:20 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/4722 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Taylor-Gooby, Peter: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4825-1250
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