An audit of the welfare modelling business

Martin Powell, Armando Barrientos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 'welfare modelling business' has become central to comparative social policy in recent years. However, we argue that one important element in this literature, the usefulness of identifying 'ideal types' of welfare production that support theoretical development, has been neglected. While much effort has been devoted to the results of the number and composition of the worlds, insufficient attention has been paid to the analytical basis of welfare regimes. This article attempts an audit of the 'welfare modelling business', with a review and consideration of the main concepts used in the literature. Our main conclusion is that definitions, concepts and methods need to be given urgent priority for the investment in the business to produce future returns. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Esping-Andersen
  • Ideal types
  • Method
  • Theory
  • Welfare capitalism
  • Welfare regimes

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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