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Price: $98.95

Paperback 264 pp.
2 figures, 14 tables, 6" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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The Politics of the Welfare State

Canada, Sweden, and the United States

Gregg Olsen

The Politics of the Welfare State provides a thorough, comparative analysis of the welfare states in Canada, Sweden and the US detailing the emergence, growth, and recent unravelling of welfare states as well as the variation among them. Beginning with an overview of major welfare typologies and models and a detailed account of the welfare states in the three nations, the book moves on to cover the central theoretical approaches to welfare state analysis. The text concludes with a discussion of recent developments, which have transpired in the current era of globalization.

Readership : Core text in social work in second- and third-year social welfare courses. The secondary market is undergraduate sociology classes in political sociology, inequality, and social policy classes in Canada and the United States. Could also be used in political science (comparative public policy courses) and social work (social policy courses) departments.


  • "Well written, comprehensive, and yet concise. . . . A welcome addition to discussions of the welfare state."
    --Trevor Harrison, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
  • "I would strongly recommend this book to all those interested in understanding the importance of comparative social policy for developing more informed theories of the welfare state."
    --Lester Parrott, North East Wales Institute
  • "It deserves to be read and used widely by European students."
    --Norman Ginsburg, London Metropolitan University

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Canada, Sweden, and the US: A Comparative Introduction
Part I: The Welfare State: National Contrasts
2. Welfare Systems and Welfare States in Canada, Sweden and the United States
3. Welfare State Models and Typologies : Locating Canada, Sweden, and the United States
Part II: Explaining the Variation: Theories of the Welfare State
4. Social Structure and System Maintenance: Functionalist and Structural Approaches
5. Culture, Values, and Ideology
6. Societal Actors: Pressure from Above and from Below
7. Polity Centred/ Neo-Institutionalist Theory
8. Retrenchment and the Future of the Welfare State in an Era of Increasing Global Integration

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Gregg Olsen is a professor and the associate head of the Department of Sociology and the University of Manitoba. He has written on book entitled The Struggle for Economic Democracy in Sweden (Avebury/ Gower: 1992), has edited Industrial Change and Labour Adjustment in Sweden and Canada (Garamond Press, 1988), and co-edited Power Resources Theory and the Welfare State: A Critical Approach (University of Toronto Press, 1998). He has also written a number of refereed papers.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • Thorough comparative analysis of the welfare states of the US, Canada, and Sweden.
  • Covers all the main theoretical approaches to comparative welfare state analysis.
  • Selection of the three states is appropriate and innovative.
  • A comprehensive introduction to comparative welfare state analysis suitable for students in sociology, political science and social work.
  • Examines the major social policies, approaches, culture/ideology, political systems/state structures, and 'actors'.