Analyzing the productive and protective dimensions of welfare : looking beyond the OECD

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Working paper

Source Publication

COMPASSS Working Papers, WP2011-63

Publication Date



Comparative Methods for Systematic Cross-Case Analysis


Several theorists have argued that social policy in East Asia can be seen as representing a distinctive welfare ideal type based around 'productive welfare'. However, we have contested such claims in earlier work (Hudson and Kühner, 2009) and, in common with theorists such as Castells, have suggested that some of the OECD welfare states have a distinct bias towards the 'productive' rather than 'protective' dimensions of welfare. In this paper, we build on our earlier work, utilising fuzzy set ideal type analysis (FSITA) to explore the balance between 'productive' and protective' dimensions of welfare state activity. Here we extend our analysis beyond the OECD, incorporating a range of nations on the 'fringe' of the OECD from Latin America, East Asia and the non-OECD parts of Europe. In so doing, we contest simple notions of welfare regimes aligning with regional blocks. Primarily, however, we highlight the advantages of the 'diversity orientated' approach to data analysis that fuzzy set methods facilitate in comparison with standard quantitative techniques. In particular, we utilize FSITA to avoid data availability and reliability issues that have plagued quantitatively informed classifications of global welfare regimes. Not least, we argue FSITA allows for the contextualisation of cases in a way that is sealed to quantitatively driven, comparative research. Thus, we argue FSITA has an important role to play in attempts to extend the inclusiveness of the 'welfare modelling business' in a manner that reflects diverse and highly significant cases beyond the Western lens that dominates the literature.

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Recommended Citation

Hudson, J., & Kühner, S. (2011). Analysing the productive and protective dimensions of welfare: Looking beyond the OECD. COMPASSS Working Paper, WP 2011-63. Retrieved from http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\HudsonKuehner2011.pdf