Neoliberal reforms in social welfare policy have been common across the developed capitalist democracies in the latter decades of the twentieth century. A central question for political economists has been whether or not economic globalisation has played a significant role in fostering these reforms in public social welfare provision. In the present paper, I review the best recent work on globalisation and the democratic capitalist welfare state. I also provide a synopsis of recent arguments about the domestic political sources of contemporary trajectories of the welfare state. After brief surveys of welfare state retrenchment and recent scholarship, I utilise newly available data to offer an analysis of the impacts of globalisation and key features of domestic politics on 1981–2000 variations in social welfare entitlements and decommodification.
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