This book, first published in 2005, builds on institutionalist theory in both economics and political science to offer a general political economy framework for the study of welfare capitalism. Based on the key idea that social protection in a modern economy, both inside and outside the state, can be understood as protection of specific investments in human capital, the book offers a systematic explanation of popular preferences for redistributive spending, the economic role of political parties and electoral systems, and labor market stratification (including gender inequality). Contrary to the popular idea that competition in the global economy undermines international differences in the level of social protection, the book argues that these differences are made possible by a high international division of labor. Such a division is what allows firms to specialize in production that requires an abundant supply of workers with specific skills, and hence high demand for protection.
• Offers a comprehensive political economy approach to the study of the welfare state and inequality • Auitable for teaching both advanced undergraduate and graduate courses • Mixes methodologies (mathematical modeling, econometrics, and case-oriented analysis) and raises new questions about social policy and globalization
Part I. Welfare Production Regimes: 1. A political economy approach to the welfare state; 2. A brief analytical history of modern welfare production regimes; Part II. Political Foundations of Social Policy: 3. Explaining individual social policy preferences; 4. Social protection and elections; Part III. Forces of Change: 5. Coping with risk: the expansion of social protection; 6. New tradeoffs, new policies: challenges of the service economy; Bibliography.
'… a truly excellent book … provides a wealth of understanding … provides a useful degree of coherence and reality that enriches the theorizing.' SEER
'… a comprehensive perspective on the historical origins of the different welfare production regimes that came to define the post-war political economies of Europe, North America and Japan … sheds considerable light on the rapid and almost uninterrupted expansion of the welfare state since the 1950s … Students of development economics and others interested in the historical trajectory of the OECD economies will find this book rewarding.' Development Policy Review