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Social policy review 27Analysis and debate in social policy, 2015$
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Zoë Irving, Zoë Irving, Menno Fenger, and John Hudson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447322771

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447322771.001.0001

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Applying welfare regime ideal types in empirical analysis

Applying welfare regime ideal types in empirical analysis

the example of activation

(p.171) Nine Applying welfare regime ideal types in empirical analysis
Social policy review 27

Deborah Rice

Policy Press

A new development in the welfare regime literature is the attempt to move from inductive welfare regime typologies to purely analytical regime ideal types. However, empirical analyses involving welfare regime ideal types are still rare. This chapter offers a methodological discussion of the applicability of an ideal-typical welfare regime approach in empirical research. Using the example of activation, it is shown how welfare regime ideal types can enrich social policy research in at least three areas: comparative analyses of welfare systems/programmes, the tracing of regime shifts over time, and the identification of regime-inherent frictions as potential sources of regime change. The chapter concludes that an ideal-typical welfare regime conception is able to mitigate a number of shortcomings afflicting traditional comparative research in the social policy domain, such as a distorting influence of outliers and inductively derived regime boundaries.

Keywords:   welfare regimes, ideal types, comparative methodologies, fuzzy set analysis, active labour market policy

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