Unconventional Welfare States: Macro-Structural Origins, Distinctive Traits, Measurement Problems

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.7.03 (Clement House)
Kerem Gabriel Oktem, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
Efe Savas, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Tolga Bolukbasi, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
The comparative welfare state literature has come to analyze diverse regime characteristics of different worlds of welfare capitalism. Scholars either programmatically claimed or implicitly assumed that these ‘worlds’ are intrinsic only to ‘eighteen or so’ advanced industrialized countries. They did so, however, without explicitly describing the common characteristics uniting these regimes. In the past two decades the geography of these worlds has been broadened so as to include ‘emerging’ welfare states. These regimes, too, were ‘modeled’ in terms of their diverse regime characteristics. This paper aims to emphasize the common origins of these emerging welfare states, which, we observe, crystallize around a set of distinctive traits distinguishing them from the established regimes. It argues that state-of-the-art measurement tools should take these traits into consideration for improving the validity of comparative welfare state research. In order to do so, the paper, first, traces the common macro-structural origins of these ‘emerging’ welfare states by focusing on their socio-political and socio-economic development and labor market regime characteristics. Based on these commonalities, second, it highlights a set of distinctive traits that distinguish these ‘emerging’ welfare states from ‘established’ welfare states. Third, the paper points to a set of potential measurement problems when using the state-of-the-art measurement tools as these may miss out on these distinctive traits. The problems include overlooking of hidden conditionalities, unconventional instruments and informal practices. The paper concludes by proposing ways to improve the validity of comparative welfare state research through proposing additional indicators for databases such as the Social Citizenship Indicator Program (SCIP) and the Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset 2 (CWED 2).