- dependent variable problem,
- welfare state dynamics,
- welfare state change,
- social rights,
- social expenditure,
- comparative analysis
Generally regarded as the main trigger for the ‘welfare modelling business’, Esping-Andersen’s (1990) Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism also heralded the so-called ‘dependent variable problem’ within the comparative analysis of the welfare state. This chapter offers an update, revision and extension of my earlier study (Kühner, 2007): first, it presents a review of recent contributions on the ‘dependent variable problem’; second, it argues, based on comprehensive descriptive analyses of state-of-the-art expenditure and social rights based measures covering 21 OECD countries (1980-2013), that summary indicators of welfare state change continue to struggle producing consistent results for several high-income countries and that Esping-Andersen’s regime typology fails to fully account for these welfare state dynamics. This chapter therefore concludes thatthe dependent variable continues to be a problem of theoretical ambiguity and data operationalisation. It also offers that quantitatively-informed research should continue to focus its efforts on developing disaggregated research frameworks.
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