POLI 239 Welfare State Paper

POLI 239 Welfare State Paper - POLI 239 Comparative Welfare...

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POLI 239 Comparative Welfare States Across Western Europe and North America, countries have gradually developed their own unique welfare states according to numerous factors including, the personal values of the electorate, the nation’s leaders, and the distinctive economic and social situations of the country. Although no two nations have identical welfare states, there are enough similarities and differences among them that allow them to be classified into three main types; social democratic, Christian democratic, and residual. However, even though a country can be classified as one of these types, there are often many features or statistics which do not strictly follow their classification. These anomalies are usually the result of many interdependent reasons that developed within each country over time. However, a country can be organized into one of these three by looking at aspects of the nation’s legislation and population including; the political system, type of labor market, level of taxes, provided public services, degree of gender equality, level of wealth redistribution, and extent of income equality. In general, the residual welfare state presents the least amount of government aid and intervention in the redistribution of wealth and services, while the social democratic welfare state provides the most government involvement in the strive for more social and economic equality. Countries with a Christian democratic welfare state usually have a balance of the two. For each of these welfare states, one country can be said to be the purest example of the type for which other countries can be compared. The residual welfare state is exemplified by the United States, and to a lesser extent Britain. However, because control of British Parliament has switched back and forth between the Labour and Conservative parties several times, irregularities such as a government run healthcare system exist that make the country a less reliable comparison measure. The Christian democratic welfare state is most exemplified by Germany, and the social democratic welfare state is best emulated by Sweden.
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In the examination of the three countries, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Canada, each can be classified as a different welfare state. Furthermore, when compared with the “pure” example of each welfare state, irregularities can be identified. Canada best represents a residual welfare state, so it will be compared against the United States and Britain; The Netherlands, as a Christian democratic welfare state, will be compared to Germany; and Denmark, as a social democratic welfare state, will be compared to Sweden. The first indicator in which to analyze the different types of welfare states is simply the political system present in the country. It is probable that the welfare state be synonymous with the political party that has been in power the longest in recent time. This holds true for all the countries examined, when using data from 1945 to 1990. Just like Sweden, Denmark was a Social Democratic government
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course POLI 239 taught by Professor Stephens during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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POLI 239 Welfare State Paper - POLI 239 Comparative Welfare...

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