Welfare States in a Globalized Economy

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Course Description: 

2 credit course, continues in the Winter semester

Day and Time: Tuesday 15:30 { 17.20 (bi-weekly basis)

Welfare states and social security schemes are central to industrialized modern democracies. However, globalization and structural domestic changes increasingly challenge these achievements. Questions concerning equality and the level and type of redistribution dominate the public and political discourse in many states. The course aims at providing the analytical and conceptional tools which are useful to  understand the development of dierent welfare stat systems, and compare dierent types of welfare state systems and social policies. In addition, you should familiarize yourself wihth some of the key contributions in this eld and understand the evolution and development of research in comparative welfare states. The course is divided into two main parts: The first part gives an overview of the dierent types of welfare states and their development over time. The characteristic features of the dierent welfare state types will be discussed and potential weaknesses and sources of inequality of welfare state systems will be identied. In the second part of the course, you will learn about the challenges and problems traditional
social security schemes and welfare states are facing and how dierent polities reorganize and reform their social security schemes. In addition to the focus on factors constraining social policy-making at the macro-level, we will also discuss the (changing) demands for social policy at the micro-level. The readings for this course mostly consist of classics of the comparative welfare state literature (rst part) and of recent articles published in peer-reviewed journals (second part).

Learning Outcomes: 

The main objective of the course is to gain insight into the broad eld of comparative welfare state research and to sensitize participants how and under what circumstances social policies contribute to growing inequalities among dierent groups in modern societies. After taking this seminar, you will (1) be able to identify and classify dierent welfare states systems, (2) you will know about the current debates in the literature, (3) you will be able to critically read scholarly articles and identify their core arguments and weaknesses, and (4) you will be able to analyze and compare social policy reforms across countries and relate the changes to the existing theories in the field.


The course will be held in a seminar format and takes place on a biweekly basis. The exact dates will be determined at the beginning of the fall term. The plan is to have the sessions more or less evenly spread over the fall and winter term. The requirements are the following: 1) Regular attendance of the seminar and active participation is required. No more than one absence without prior notication via email are granted. In order to structure our debate and discussion of the scholarly articles, you are required to submit two (2) short questions or observations related to the readings prior to the session. 2) You will have to deliver two presentations, one short presentation following the form of an `oral reaction paper' (no longer than 20 minutes) and a second, more comprehensive presentation for which you need to research additional literature and present your own angle on chosen topic (no longer than 50 minutes including discussion). The exact format of the presentation will be discussed during the rst session. 3) You are expected to write one research paper (5.000 words max, excluding bibliography). You are free to choose a topic, which can also be related to your extensive presentation. Please discuss the question that you would like to research with me beforehand. A style sheet clarifying the formal requirements will be available online, and information on the precise substantive requirements will be discussed in class. The deadline for submitting the essay will be announced at a later stage. The essay needs to be uploaded on the e-learning platform before midnight on the respective date.

The final grade consists of the following components:
- Submission of questions related to the reading and active participation in weekly discussions: 20%
- Presentations: 30%
- Research paper: 50%