Recasting Welfare Regimes for a Postindustrial Era

Gøsta Esping‐Andersen

in Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198742005
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599163 | DOI:
 Recasting Welfare Regimes for a Postindustrial Era

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The introduction to this chapter discusses the question of why nations respond so differently to a set of social risks that are similar over various countries, and analyses three typical homines: Homo liberalisimus, Homo familias, and Homo socialdemocraticus. When the instincts of these ideal typical homines are combined, moral conflicts result, although a sufficient mass manages to profile itself in collective expression and sways society towards its preferred welfare regime. Old risks may fade and new ones emerge, but the response of a welfare regime will be, more likely than not, normatively path dependent. It is argued that since core institutional traits appear to be so unyielding to change, it is unlikely that the contemporary welfare state crisis will produce revolutionary change: there may be a blueprint for an ideal post‐industrial regime, but unless it is compatible with existing welfare regime practice, it may not be practicable. The author argues that, nonetheless, optimizing welfare in a post‐industrial setting will require radical departures, and these are discussed under the following headings: What is to be Optimized; Rival Reform Strategies; The Market Strategy; A Third Way?; and Equality with Inequality?

Keywords: equality; inequality; institutional change; institutional traits; market strategy; optimization of welfare; post‐industrial economics; post‐industrial regime; reform; reform strategies; social risks; third way; welfare regimes; welfare state crisis

Chapter.  6597 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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