SA4M1      Half Unit
Politics of Social Policy: Welfare and Work in Comparative Perspective

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Timo Fleckenstein OLD1.17


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Public Policy and Administration, MSc in Public Policy and Administration (Research), MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course explores the politics of social policy in advanced political economies. In the first part of the course, the main analytical approaches for the cross-national analysis of welfare states are introduced (such as the industrialism thesis, the power resources model, new institutionalism, feminist theory and the globalisation thesis). These will be examined in the context of the rise of modern welfare states and their transformations since the end of the 'Golden Age' in the mid-1970s. These analyses and the theoretical approaches to cross-national study of welfare states will be harnessed in the second part of the course when the focus shifts towards more recent policy developments since the 1990s. The empirical focus is on the welfare-and-work nexus. The course analyses the development of labour market and family policies in Nordic countries, Continental Europe, Anglo-phone countries and East Asia.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Seminar members will be expected to make presentations to the seminar, and submit a formative essay of 1,500 words. 

Indicative reading

Armingeon, Klaus and Bonoli, Giuliano, eds. (2006) The Politics of Post-Industrial Welfare States, London: Routledge.
Castles, Frances G. (2004) The Future of the Welfare State, Oxford: OUP.
Castles, Frances G. et al., eds. (2010) The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford: OUP.
De Beer, Paul and Schils, Trudie (2009) The Labour Market Triangle, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Esping-Andersen, Gøsta (2009) The Incomplete Revolution, Cambridge: Polity.
Iversen, Torben (2005) Capitalism, Democracy, and Welfare, Cambridge: CUP.
Kersbergen, Kees van and Manow, eds. (2009) Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States, Cambridge: CUP.
Lewis, Jane (2009) Work-Family Balance, Gender and Policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Essay (100%, 3000 words).

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 9

Average class size 2012/13: 10

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information