The Moral Economy of Welfare States: Britain and Germany
Compared. By Steffen Mau. New York: Routledge, 2003. 248p.
As postwar welfare state accords unraveled in the 1970s, welfare state
scholarship grew rapidly, with most scholars aiming to identify the
determinants of policy variation and growth. Scholars typically debated
the relative roles of economic and demographic factors, political
configurations, and national attitudes and preferences. In subsequent
decades, many researchers turned their attention from the
determinants of welfare state development to the effects
of social policies on varied social, economic, and behavioral outcomes. At
the same time, a number of scholars moved away from social expenditures as
the primary measure of welfare state effort and aimed instead to analyze
the institutional features, or the architecture, of public provisions.
Furthermore, scholars began to argue that the welfare state's causes
and effects were, in fact, multidirectional. Welfare state features shape
socioeconomic outcomes, political alliances, and preferences, and in turn
are shaped and maintained by their own effects.