A European Welfare State Convergence?

Francis G. Castles

in The Future of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270170
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601514 | DOI:
A European Welfare State Convergence?

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Seeks to explore the notion that European welfare states have been becoming more alike in recent years, with a view to establishing the reality or otherwise of the notion of a distinct ‘European social model’. The analysis shows that convergence within Europe is largely restricted to aggregate social expenditure levels, but that welfare state standards, spending on individual welfare programmes and welfare state priorities quite often differ appreciably within and between different European families of nations. In consequence, it would appear that we are no nearer to a European ‘social model’ in the early twenty-first century than we were in the early 1980s.

Keywords: European social model; Europeanization; families of nations; policy convergence; policy harmonization; race to the bottom; welfare programmes; welfare standards; welfare types

Chapter.  8406 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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