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Towards Productive Welfare? A Comparative Analysis of 23 OECD Countries

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Publication details

JournalJournal of European Social Policy
DatePublished - Feb 2009
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)34-46
Original languageEnglish


Numerous analysts have suggested that globalization and the emergence of more knowledge-based economies have encouraged high-income nations to shift towards a model of productive welfare focused on social investment, yet typologies of welfare are still largely drawn on the basis of measures of social protection rather than social investment. Here we develop a classification of welfare state types that incorporates both productive and protective elements of social policy. Using fuzzy set ideal type analysis we explore data for a sample of 23 OECD countries in three time points: 1994, 1998 and 2003. Our findings provide no more than very modest support for claims that welfare states are shifting from protective to productive modes of provision and, in many cases, we identify a shift in the alternative direction. In addition, we identify some nations that are clearly productive in their focus and others that manage to combine productive and protective features.

    Research areas

  • fuzzy set ideal type analysis, welfare state typologies, productive welfare

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