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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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What if we waited a little longer? The dependent variable problem within the comparative analysis of the welfare state revisited

What if we waited a little longer? The dependent variable problem within the comparative analysis of the welfare state revisited

Chapter:
(p.199) Ten What if we waited a little longer? The dependent variable problem within the comparative analysis of the welfare state revisited
Source:
Social policy review 27
Author(s):

Stefan Kühner

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447322771.003.0010

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.

Keywords:   dependent variable problem, welfare state dynamics, welfare state change, social rights, social expenditure, comparative analysis

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