SA4L1      Half Unit
The Governance of Welfare: The Nation State and the European Union

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Mangen OLD 2.62


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy). This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in Public Policy and Administration, MSc in Regulation, 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 initial lecture introduces the principal methods and analytic models of comparative social policy. This is followed by a review of the development of modern welfare states in Western Europe from the last quarter of the 19th century, when many of the key institutional features of European welfare were being created. Then a series of lectures provides analysis of contemporary welfare models as they have evolved in major EU member states since the end of the Second World War: Sweden (representing social democracy) France and Germany (representing two variants of ‘conservative corporatism’ as Esping-Andersen in the Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism termed them), Italy and Spain (as representatives of the Mediterranean ‘middle way’) and welfare states of Transitional Economies in the new EU members. Discussion of the social policy competence of the European Union completes the teaching in the last three sessions.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be required to submit one formative essay of 1500 words by the end of week 6 of the Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

Baldwin, P The Politics of Social Solidarity - Class Bases of European Welfare States 1875-1975, Cambridge University Press 1990; Buchs M New Governance of European Social Policy: the Open Method of Coordination. Palgrave, 2007;Esping-Andersen, G The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Polity 1990; Hantrais L Social Policy in the European Union Palgrave, 2007; Hay C & Wincott The Political Economy of European Welfare Capitalism, Palgrave 2012, especially chapters 2, 5, 6; Mangen S Europe and the Welfare State since 1945 in Larres K (ed) A Companion to Europe Since 1945. Blackwell, 2008; van Kersbergen K & Vis B Comparative Welfare State Politics, Cambridge OP 2014;Castles F G et al The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State. Oxford UP, 2010.


One summative essay of 3000 words (100%).

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 0
Merit 59.6
Pass 38.3
Fail 2.1

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 17

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information