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date: 29 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article first describes Esping-Andersen's paradigmatic typology of welfare states and its impact. Esping-Andersen's Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism has had a defining influence upon the whole field of comparative welfare state research in the twenty years since its publication. The debate that has resulted and the refinements of typology that this debate had generated are explored. The debate reaches out from the ‘established’ to the ‘emerging’ welfare states. The article asks further what has happened in the recent past and what will happen in the near future within (and between) the differing worlds of welfare capitalism, reflecting on the very varying hypotheses that have emerged in the critical literature. Finally, it reports the theoretical and methodological adequacy of welfare state modelling. A principal value of Esping-Andersen's three ideal-types of welfare regimes is that it provides abstract models, so that deviations from the ideal types can be noted and explained.

Keywords: Esping-Andersen, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, welfare states, paradigmatic typology, modelling

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