The English‐Speaking Countries

Francis G. Castles

in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579396
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

The English‐Speaking Countries

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This article first examines the literature that has identified strong policy similarities between the English-speaking countries. It then closely explores the strategies of redistribution adopted in these countries and shows that there remain significant differences between them and ones which make blanket assumptions about these countries' commitment to welfare quite inappropriate. Finally, European and American social policy is described, and the article asks whether apparent American exceptionalism arises simply from a failure to identify that country as a typical member of an English-speaking world of welfare. It demonstrates that in some instances this does indeed seem to be the case, but that, in others, public policy priorities in the United States really do appear to march to the beat of a different drum. A distinct English-speaking world of welfare is apparent in respect of spending patterns and redistributive outcomes as well as of policy outcomes in the realm of the personal.

Keywords: European social policy; American social policy; American exceptionalism; welfare; public policy

Article.  6010 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Public Policy

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