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Comparative welfare states - Structure
Comparative welfare states - Structure


MATTEO ROBERTO CARLO JESSOULA , responsible for the course

Degree in ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (EPS) Classi LM-56/LM-62 Enrolled from 2014/2015 academic year - Laurea Magistrale - 2018/2019

Compulsory course or activityNo
Year of course2s
Term or semester2nd term
Scientific fields (settori scientifico-disciplinari)
  • SECS-P/03 - Scienza delle finanze
ECTS credits (CFU) compulsory9
ECTS credits - facultative-

General information

Aims and objectives: The course aims at providing the fundamental analytical tools for the study of social protection systems in a comparative perspective.

It analyses welfare state development, since the origins in the XIX century until the recent phase of crisis and reform, by focusing on its exogenous and endogenous determinants.

Particular attention is paid to how the interaction between institutional arrangements (“structures”) with political and social actors (“agency”) contributes shaping social policies in multilevel - European, national, sub-national - and multi-stakeholder arenas.

Language of instruction: English

Teaching methods: 30 Lessons




Syllabus: Unit 1
The modern welfare state:
- A general introduction
- Concepts and definitions
- Theoretical perspectives

The welfare state in historical and comparative perspective:
- From public assistance to national social protection
- The Golden Age of welfare expansion
- Regime types and the fourth and fifth social Europe
- Theories of the welfare state

Unit 2
Welfare state crisis and reforms:
- The “first” crisis (1970s-1980s) and national responses
- The crisis: exogenous and endogenous determinants
- The recalibration of the welfare state
- Globalization and the welfare state
- The future of social Europe after the Great Recession (2008-)

Unit 3
Pensions and old age protection
- The tool box
- Different paths to old age protection in the XX century
- Pension crisis and reforms: policy and institutional change
- The politics of pension reforms
- Theorizing pension reforms
- Flexicurity and old-age protection

Syllabus - non-attending students: Same as attending students

Short course description english flag

The course focuses on the politics of welfare state development, since its origins in the XIX century until the recent phase of crisis and reform.
The first module provides: a) some fundamental analytical tools for the study of social protection systems in a comparative perspective and, b) an analysis of developmental factors and dynamics; c) a discussion of the “crisis” of the welfare state, paying special attention to its endogenous and exogenous determinants.
The second module concentrates on the recent process of change and re-adaptation, by analysing how the different welfare regimes have responded to the crisis.
Module 3 adopts a comparative perspective to provide an in-depth analysis of policy developments and political dynamics in a key social protection sector: pensions. The focus will be posed on the modes of institutional change, the politics of pension reforms, as well as the emergence of new flexicurity arrangements in a life-course perspective.

Readings: A list of required readings for the Units 1-2-3 will be circulated at the beginning of the course.

Readings - non-attending students: Unit 1
- Ferrera, M. (2005) The Boundaries of Welfare. European Integration and the new Spatial Politics of Solidarity, Oxford: Oxford University Press, chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.
- Hemerijck, A. (2013) Changing Welfare States, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapters 1, 2, 3

Unit 2
- Armingeon, K. (2014) ‘Breaking with the past, Why the global financial crisis led to austerity policies but not to the modernization of the welfare state’, in C. Pierson et al (eds) (2014) The Welfare State Reader, 3rd edition. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 214-226.
-Ferrera, M. (2017) ‘Impatient politics and social investment: The EU as ‘policy facilitator’, Journal of European Public Policy, 24 (8): 1233-1251.
- Mertens, D. (2017) ‘The ‘new welfare state’ under fiscal strain: Austerity gridlocks and the privatization of risk’, in A. Hemerijck (ed) The Uses of Social Investment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
-Nolan, B. (2013) ‘What use is social investment?’ Journal of European Social Policy, 23 (5): 459-468.
- Pierson, P. (1996) ‘The new politics of the welfare state’, World Politics, 48 (2): 143-179
- Pierson, P. (1998) ‘Irresistible forces, immovable objects: post-industrial welfare states confront permanent austerity’, Journal of European Public Policy, 5 (4): 53-60.
- Rueda, D. (2012) ‘West European welfare states in times of crisis’ in N. Bermeo and J. Pontusson (eds) Coping with Crisis: Government Reactions to the Great Recession. New York: Russell Sage, pp. 361-398.
- Walter, S. (2010) ‘Globalization and the welfare state: testing the microfoundations of the compensation hypothesis’, International Studies Quarterly, 54 (2): 403-426.

Unit 3
- Hinrichs, K. and M. Jessoula (eds) (2012), Labour market flexibility and pension reform, Palgrave.

Prerequisites, exams and assessment

Type of assessmentEsame
Assessmentvoto verbalizzato in trentesimi

Prerequisites, exams and assessment Modules 1-2: students have to pass a sit-down written exam comprising both multiple-choice and "open" questions.
Module 3: assessment rules will be indicated at the beginning of the course

Prerequisites, exams and assessment - non attendant students Modules 1-2-3: Students have to pass a sit-down written exam comprising both multiple-choice and "open" questions

Structure of the course

Scientific fields

  • SECS-P/03 - Scienza delle finanze - Credits: 9

Teachers ' office hours

Teacher's office hours
TeacherOffice location
MATTEO ROBERTO CARLO JESSOULA , responsible for the courseAprile: 2 h. 17.00-19.30; 10 h. 10.30-13; 17 h. 10.30-13 - Maggio: 3 h. 10.30-13Stanza 203 -2° piano.