The Four Worlds of Global Welfare

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Erdem YORUK, Koc University, Turkey
Kerem YILDIRIM, Sabancı University, Turkey
Ibrahim OKER, University of Minnesota, USA
This paper makes an important contribution to the welfare regimes literature, by illustrating that there are now four global “Worlds of Welfare”. The expanding “Three Worlds” literature has suffered from a number of drawbacks: (i) It is radically slanted towards OECD countries, (ii) a few globalist studies does not compare OECD and non-OECD countries, (iii) they only focuses on geographical/cultural clusters and (iv) the globalist literature does not use welfare policy variables but development variables. All these have undermined the possibility of reaching at a global welfare state theory. To address these challenges, we introduce a novel dataset that contains welfare policy variables which represent the most important decommodification components such as pensions, unemployment schemes and sickness benefits. Additionally, we utilize social assistance as a crucial fourth component of decommodification, as a novelty in the literature. We conducted a cluster analysis (with hierarchical clustering analysis) and show that 52 countries from the Global North and South constitute four welfare regimes. In this first global welfare regime cluster analysis with only welfare policy variables, we used 18 welfare policy variables on 52 countries from 2013. Our analysis reveals four global welfare regimes:

  1. Emerging Markets-Mediterranean-Post-communist: Social security benefits are above average while social assistance benefits are below. These countries are developing extensive social assistance programs but still based on already developed social security systems.
  2. Liberal Regime: Pension benefits are lower than average while social assistance benefits are higher. These countries are building extensive social assistance benefits without a basis of extensive social security systems.
  3. European Regime: Both social security and social assistance benefits are above average. These countries have extensive social security and assistance systems
  4. Less developed emerging markets: These countries have lower-than-average social security and social assistance benefits. But, they still perform better in social assistance benefits.