Contemporary accounts of welfare state change have produced conflicting findings and incompatible theoretical explanations. To a large extent this is due to a `dependent variable problem' within comparative research, whereby there is insufficient consideration of how to conceptualize, operationalize and measure change.
With contributions from leading international scholars, this important book presents a comprehensive examination of conventional indicators (such as social spending), available alternatives (including social rights and conditionality), as well as principal concepts of how to capture change (for example convergence and de-familization). By providing an in-depth discussion of the most salient aspects of the `dependent variable problem', the editors aim to enable a more cumulative build-up of empirical evidence and contribute to constructive theoretical debates about the causes of welfare state change. The volume also offers valuable suggestions as to how the problem might be tackled within empirical cross-national analyses of modern welfare states.
The focus on the methodology of conceptualizing and measuring welfare state change in a comparative perspective gives this unique book widespread appeal amongst scholars and researchers of social policy and sociology, as well as students at both the advanced undergraduate and post-graduate level studying comparative social policy, research methods and welfare reform.
Edited by Jochen Clasen, Professor of Comparative Social Policy, University of Edinburgh, UK and Nico A. Siegel, Senior Research Manager, The German Socio-Economic Panel, TNS Infratest Sozialforschung, Munich, Germany
Contents: PART I: THE `DEPENDENT VARIABLE PROBLEM' IN COMPARATIVE WELFARE STATE RESEARCH 1. Comparative Welfare State Analysis and the `Dependent Variable Problem' Jochen Clasen and Nico A. Siegel 2. More than Data Questions and Methodological Issues: Theoretical Conceptualization and the Dependent Variable `Problem' in the Study of Welfare Reform Christoffer Green-Pedersen 3. Too Narrow and Too Wide at Once: The `Welfare State' as Dependent Variable in Policy Analysis Giuliano Bonoli PART II: MEASURING AND ANALYSING `WELFARE EFFORTS': SOCIAL EXPENDITURE REVISITED 4. When (Only) Money Matters: The Pros and Cons of Expenditure Analysis Nico A. Siegel 5. Social Expenditure Under Scrutiny: The Problems of Using Aggregate Spending Data for Assessing Welfare State Dynamics Johan De Deken and Bernhard Kittel 6. Social Rights, Structural Needs and Social Expenditure: A Comparative Study of 18 OECD Countries 1960-2000 Olli Kangas and Joakim Palme PART III: BEYOND SPENDING: WELFARE STATE GENEROSITY, SOCIAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS 7. Welfare State Generosity Across Space and Time Lyle Scruggs 8. Levels and Levers of Conditionality: Measuring Change Within Welfare States Jochen Clasen and Daniel Clegg 9. Exploring Diversity: Measuring Welfare State Change with Fuzzy-Set Methodology Jon Kvist PART IV: CAPTURING THE NATURE OF WELFARE STATE CHANGE 10. Convergence in European Welfare State Analysis: Convergence of What? Julia S. O'Connor 11. (In)Dependence as Dependent Variable: Conceptualizing and Measuring `De-familization' Sigrid Leitner and Stephan Lessenich 12. Pension Reform: Beyond Path Dependency? Sven Jochem References Index