What if we waited a little longer? The dependent variable problem within the comparative analysis of the welfare state revisited
Social policy review, 27 : Analysis and debate in social policy, 2015
dependent variable problem, welfare state dynamics, welfare state change, social rights, social expenditure, comparative analysis
Generally regarded as the main trigger for the ‘welfare modelling business’, Esping-Andersen’s (1990) Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism also heralded the so-called ‘dependent variable problem’ within the comparative analysis of the welfare state. This chapter offers an update, revision and extension of my earlier study (Kühner, 2007): first, it presents a review of recent contributions on the ‘dependent variable problem’; second, it argues, based on comprehensive descriptive analyses of state-of-the-art expenditure and social rights based measures covering 21 OECD countries (1980-2013), that summary indicators of welfare state change continue to struggle producing consistent results for several high-income countries and that Esping-Andersen’s regime typology fails to fully account for these welfare state dynamics. This chapter therefore concludes thatthe dependent variable continues to be a problem of theoretical ambiguity and data operationalisation. It also offers that quantitatively-informed research should continue to focus its efforts on developing disaggregated research frameworks.
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ISBN of the source publication: 9781447322771
Kühner, S. (2014). What if we waited a little longer? The dependent variable problem within the comparative analysis of the welfare state revisited. In Z. Irving, M. Fenger, & J. Hudson (Eds.), Social policy review, 27: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2015 (pp. 199-224). Bristol: Policy Press. doi: 10.1332/policypress/9781447322771.003.0010