Children and the Welfare State: The Need for a Child-Centered Analysis


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Variation in child well-being across rich Western nations suggests that the welfare state may play a role in shaping child well-being. However, welfare scholars have largely overlooked children in their analyses. This paper seeks to bring children to the center of welfare state analysis by examining how comparative welfare state theory can consider child well-being. The paper begins with an examination of Esping-Andersen’s seminal work, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, which has come to frame welfare state analysis for nearly three decades. Next, the paper explores the main critiques of Esping-Andersen’s work, with special attention paid to the feminist critique and the construction of alternative feminist and family policy regimes. Finally, this paper extends and reworks Esping-Andersen’s Three Worlds to offer a new framework for conducting child-centered welfare state analyses.

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