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300075 The welfare state in a comparative perspective (S) (SoSe 2011)

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Welfare state arrangements structure the outcomes in different life domains (e.g. work, health, income). Thus, cross-national studies often regard the characteristics of welfare states as an important context for the analysis of social phenomena. In addition, there is a long tradition of analysing the characteristics of welfare states themselves, e.g. studies which try to explain why welfare states have evolved and developed differently. Both types of research require a comparative perspective. The seminar provides an overview of the different approaches of how to compare welfare states and discusses empirical studies which analyse the welfare state from different perspectives. In addition, in the last part of the seminar we will jointly replicate macro-level studies on welfare state development. The aim of the replication is not primarily to enhance the knowledge in the techniques of data analysis but to learn more about the consequences of case selection, the choice of data sources and the different assumptions of case- and variable-oriented approaches. Such knowledge is essential for a critical reading of comparative studies as well as for carrying out own comparative research. A basic understanding of regression and/or Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is certainly helpful for attending the seminar but not necessarily required. A discussion of the insights drawn from the empirical exercise concludes the seminar.

1. Overview and introduction
2. Comparing countries: Approaches
3. Perspectives on welfare states: Empirical studies
4. Explaining differences between welfare states: “Workshop” using OLS regression and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
5. Discussion and conclusion


Introductory reading:
Arts, Will/ Gelissen, John (2002): Three worlds of welfare capitalism or more? A state-of-the-art report. In: Journal of European Social Policy 12(2): 137-158.

Castles, Francis G./ Leibfried, Stephan/ Lewis, Jane/ Obinger, Herbert/ Pierson, Christopher (2010): Introduction. In: idem (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1-15.

Castles, Francis G./ Obinger, Herbert (2007): Social expenditure and the politics of redistribution. In: Journal of European Social Policy 17(3): 206-222.

Kangas, Olli (1994): The politics of social security: on regressions, comparative analysis, and cluster analysis. In: Janoski, Thomas/ Hicks, Alexander (Hg.) (1994): The Comparative Political Economy of the Welfare State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 346-364.

Landman, Todd (2003): Issues and methods in comparative politics. An introduction. New York: Routledge. (Chapter 1)

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Subject assignments

Degree programme/academic programme Validity Variant Subdivision Status Semester LP  
Bielefeld Graduate School In History And Sociology / Promotion Stream A    
Soziologie / Diplom (Enrollment until SoSe 2005) 2.3.2 (DPO02)    
Soziologie / Master (Enrollment until SoSe 2012) Modul 1.1   3 (bei Einzelleistung 3 LP zusätzlich)  
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