Fall/Winter Timetable

JRA2321H1F L5101

Undergraduate Course Code: JRA401H1F L5101

Topics in Comparative Politics V

Welfare Capitalism in Western Europe


This course will present the characteristics and evolution of the so called European social models. We will review first the arguments and approaches of the varieties of capitalism literature and the theories of the welfare state. Secondly, there will be a brief introduction to the different social models in Europe. Thirdly, key welfare policies such as health care, education, unemployment insurance, family and income support, and retirement pensions will be explained. Fourthly, we will look in detail at the way governments in Scandinavia, Continental and Anglophone Europe, and the Mediterranean region address those policies. Finally, we will look at specific reforms in these welfare states, considering recent economic and political developments, i.e. multiculturalism and migration, the global financial crisis, or the role of the European Union in the provision of public services.
The course will draw on some basic economic ideas, but prior background in economics is not a prerequisite.


Selection (see syllabus for complete list.)
Kaufman, Franz-Xaver, Variations of the Welfare State. Great Britain, Sweden, France and Germany Between Capitalism and Socialism, Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 2013.
Nicholas Barr, The Economics of the Welfare State, 5th ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
Francis G. Castles et al., The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010.
Steinmo, Sven, The Evolution of Modern States. Sweden, Japan, and the United States, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Esping-Andersen, Gosta, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1990.

Format and Requirements

Participation in the class discussions (15% of the final grade), preparing and leading a class discussion based on a journal or newspaper article related to one of the subjects addressed in the lectures (15% of the final grade), a formal research proposal (assignment 1) of two pages, including a preliminary title, an abstract, and a short list of preliminary references (15% of the final grade), a draft research paper (assignment 2) of 15-20 pages, double spaced, building on the previous research proposal (20% of the final grade), a final version of the research paper (assignment 3) of 20-25 pages, double spaced, building on the previous research proposal and draft (35% of the final grade).