Article

Welfare State Development

Linda Cook

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0053
Welfare State Development

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The modern welfare state originated in industrializing Europe, in the English system of “poor laws” that supplemented private and church-based charity, and more fully, in the workers’ social security system established by Bismarck in 19th-century Germany. Welfare provision in Europe expanded after both world wars, growing into systems that provided publicly funded social insurance, health care, education, income security, and family supports, with the United States seen as a “welfare laggard” in comparison with European systems. In the industrial democracies the welfare state experienced its golden age of expansion in scope and generosity from 1945 to 1980. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, globalization, demographic change, and other factors have produced pressures for retrenchment. Scholarship initially focused on Organisation for Economi Co-operation and Development (OECD) welfare states and entitlements linked to formal employment, then extended to include Communist and developing states, women and “care work,” and broader issues of global stratification, privatization and informalization, clientelism, and nonstate provision.

Article.  8480 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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