Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1997

European Welfare States

Main Disciplines: Political Science, Sociology
Lecturers: Professors Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens
Institution: University of North Carolina, Chapell Hill, USA
Dates: 28 July - 1 August, 1997

This course examines the development, achievements, present crisis, and future of the welfare state in Western Europe. The course begins with an examination of the historical causes of variations in welfare state development among advanced industrial democracies. We analyze not only the variation in aggregate "welfare state" effort but also the variation in the degree of redistribution, security, decommodification, and labor mobilization effected by different types of welfare states, as well as the welfare state's impact on gender relations. These various aspects of welfare state policy cluster into distinct "welfare state regimes" which are closely related to distinct "labor market regimes".

The welfare state and labor market regimes in turn shaped and were shaped by the overall economic development models, which are the focus of the second segment of the course. These economic development models (or "types of capitalism") have undergone a fundamental transformation since the early Seventies due to changes in the international economy and domestic social structures of advanced industrial democracy. The last segment of the courses examines these changes and their impact on the welfare state. The course also examines the impact of European integration on the current changes in social policy. The final session is devoted to a consideration of the prospects for reconstitution of the various welfare state regimes based on the analyses developed in the course

Basic reading

The lecturers
John D. Stephens is a Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His main field of research has been European welfare states, and the relationship between capitalist development and democracy. He co-authored Capitalist Development and Democracy, Cambridge 1992, and is one of the editors (with H. Kitschelt, P. Lange and G. Marks) of the forthcoming Continuity and Change in Contemporary Capitalism, Cambridge 1997.

Evelyne Huber is a Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Much of her research has focused on Latin America. She co-authored Capitalist Development and Democracy, Cambridge 1992, and also Democratic Socialism in Jamaica, London 1986 (with John Stephens). Her most recent book is a volume edited with Frank Safford, Agrarian Structure and Political Power in Latin America, Pittsburgh 1995.