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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article offers an overview of how past research in comparative social science has dealt with the relationship between religion and the welfare state. It assesses theoretical approaches and the empirical findings, and provides an alternative view that generates questions for further research. It specifically concentrates on the experience in Europe and the settler colonies. The theoretical adjustments and refinements to account for Christian democracy's social policy influence produced its own set of anomalies. The article also presents the observation that Esping-Andersen's original three-regime heuristic puts much emphasis on a class-coalitional perspective. It is believed that Iversen and Soskice are perfectly right in stressing the significance of a coalition between lower and middle classes, yet by taking into account the impact of different cleavage structures in Nordic and continental countries on emerging party systems one can identify which type of middle class party entered into a coalition with social democracy.

Keywords: religion, welfare state, comparative social science, Europe, Christian democracy, social policy, Iversen, Soskice, Esping, Andersen

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