This study proposes a novel and systematic theoretical framework to explain global welfare state policy differences. The existing scholarship examined ample welfare state variations, reforms, and transitions; however, it is typically limited to specific countries, regions, policies, or risks. In an endeavor to combine these theoretical and empirical insights, the global contemporary welfare state patterns remain vague. This study aims at bridging this gap in the literature by deploying an orderly and comprehensive three-step procedure. First, I formally design a three-stage global yet comparative conceptual framework that ensures consistency, inclusiveness, and compliance. Second, based on this framework, I assemble a unique comparative dataset for one-hundred-fifty countries, some of which appear for the first time in this literature. Third, I validate the framework using an advanced data reduction method named model-based cluster analysis. The results of this study demonstrate that global contemporary welfare states follow systematically divergent paths, revealing Proactive, Reactive, and Dual patterns.