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Palgrave Macmillan

The Political Economy of European Welfare Capitalism

ISBN 9781403902238
Publication Date August 2012
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series 21st Century Europe

In this state-of-the-art work, Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott reassess welfare provision across the whole of Europe – East, West and Central – and at the national and EU level. The book challenges much conventional wisdom about the welfare state, including the widely accepted notion of a 'golden age' of welfare, the idea of a challenge posed by globalization, and the notion of the welfare state as a burden on competitiveness and a drain on economic performance.

The authors put forward an alternative analysis of European welfare capitalism which highlights the importance of European economic integration, domestic political dynamics and demographic change in determining welfare trajectories. They conclude with a compelling account of the challenges to which European welfare states must respond if they are to survive in the new era of public austerity.

  • Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles of 2013

COLIN HAY is Professor of Political Analysis and Co-Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield, UK.
DANIEL WINCOTT is Blackwell Professor of Law and Society at Cardiff University Law School and co-Chair of the Wales Governance Centre.

European Welfare Capitalism in Good Times and Bad
Varieties of European Welfare Capitalism
Globalization, Europeanization and the Welfare State
Competitiveness and the Welfare State
European Integration and Welfare Capitalism
Convergence and Divergence in European Welfare Trajectories
European Welfare Capitalism in Hard Times


'Every decade or so a book comes along that defines research in the comparative political economy of the advanced industrial states. If the 1990s belonged to Esping-Andersen and the 2000s to Hall and Soskice, the next decade belongs to Hay and Wincott. Combining historical synthesis, comparative analysis, and cutting-edge theory, they give us a refreshing and insightful account of the genesis, evolution, and transformation of European welfare states. Critically interrogating the impact of globalization, regionalization and competitiveness on these states, Hay and Wincott recast the evolution of European Welfare Capitalism as always and everywhere a political struggle over market imperatives.' - Mark Blyth, Brown University, USA
'This masterful and highly original reassessment demonstrates that more welfare state rather than less can go hand in hand with competitiveness; that European integration, not globalization, better explains welfare state transformation; and that different clusters of welfare capitalism are diverging further rather than converging. A 'must-read' for anyone who wants to understand not only what is wrong but also what is right about the European welfare state.' - Vivien Schmidt, Boston University, USA
'Un tour de force. Combining ambitious, rich and precise analysis with a wealth of effectively deployed empirical data, this is comparative political economy at its best. The concluding chapter on the impact of the current crisis on the evolution of European welfare states in particular is not to be missed.' - Patrick le Galès, Centre d'études européennes, Sciences Po France and King's College London, UK
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