Politics of Social Policy

The study of the politics of social policy has become one of the key areas of research within international comparative social policy/welfare state analysis. Welfare state regimes or the specific social policy design, especially in Western Europe and North America, are understood largely to result from political ‘choices’.

Key areas are the political economy of the welfare state, particularly the role of party politics and social policy change, globalisation and social policy, the relationship between income inequality and social networks/social capital, as well as corporations and social policy. Special expertise includes in-depth knowledge of British, German, Italian, Japanese and US-American social policies. Recent research has focused on the determinants of (occupational) family policy in Britain and Germany, the relationship between human capital changes and welfare state changes, and the dualization of social protection. Researchers also focus on issues of governance and accountability in the policy areas of health and education.

Researchers have collaborated on a methodological project as part of the ESRC’s Cross-National Comparative Methods Research Initiative, in line with our commitments to methodological excellence and innovation as well as international comparative research. Podcasts of the workshop providing an introduction and overview of various comparative methods run by OISP in 2012 are available.