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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews the changing research questions that have motivated research on the impact of state structures and political institutions on welfare states over the last decades. It pays particular attention to how researchers operationalize political institutions and state structures in both quantitative and qualitative analyses. It starts by presenting the state-centred approach. It then moves on to the new institutionalism, and provides new directions in institutionalist research. The ‘state-centred’ approach is incorporated into their watershed article pointing to the development of a ‘new institutionalism’ in political science. It is noted that welfare state politics and policies do not just influence the organization of interests and their expression in politics, but can even reframe societal categories and reconfigure the categories of political conflict. New research on the welfare state is headed for greater cross-regional comparison and the engagement with transnational patterns and processes with which the state-centred approach began.

Keywords: political institutions, welfare states, new institutionalism, state-centred approach, political science, state structures

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