Comparative welfare states

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
SECS-P/03
Language
English
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing the fundamental analytical tools for the comparative study of social protection systems by adopting a political science perspective, which then looks at social policy development mainly as result of political dynamics.
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 to shape social policies in multilevel - European, national, sub-national - and multi-stakeholder arenas.
The course includes 3 units:
Unit 1 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.
Unit 2 concentrates on the recent process of change and re-adaptation, by analysing how the different welfare regimes have responded to the crisis.
Unit 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 kept 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.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: At the end of the course students are expected to know the main differences across welfare states in different world areas; also they must be able to understand cross-country variation across the various social policy sectors (pensions, social assistance, health care, labour policy, etc.).

Applying knowledge and understanding: Through interaction in the class, students are stimulated to apply the aquired analytical tools to the study of comparative welfare state development. Also, students are ecnouraged to write a short essay instead of taking the final sit-down exam. At the end of the course, students are expected to fully understand the content of academic contributions in the comparative welfare state literature, as well as the content of official documents, grey literature, etc.

Making judgements: Students are expected to be able to apply the fundamental analytical tools in order to fully understand both the functioning of social protection systems and the main drivers of institutional change in the field. They will also learn how to assess the varying effectiveness of different welfare institutional arrangements by relying on empirical evidence - i.e. using both qualitative information and quantitative data.
Communication skills: The lectures are mostly conducted in a very interctive way in oder to strenghten students' oral communication skills. The sit down written exams always include broad open questions to allow students to elaborate extensively on pre-defined topics.

Learning skills: At the end of the course, students should be autonomous in both analyzing welfare state development and link observed empirical phenomena with more abstract theoretical arguments.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Remote learning relies on 30 online sessions via Microsoft Teams
https://www.microsoft.com/it-it/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/group-cha…

Same as in class-based lectures, remote sessions are conducted in a very interactive way in order to:
a) favour discussion, both student-professor and among students
b) stimulate critical thinking
c) fine tuning the course content in accordance with students' interests
d) strenghten students' oral communication skills.

READINGS
The syllabus will remain the same

EXAM RULES
The written tests (partial + final) for both attending and non attending students are converted into a single, ORAL exam at the end of the course.
Fot attending students willing to write an essay, the ORAL exam will cover units 1 and 2 only.
Course syllabus
The course focuses on welfare state development and its main determinants since origins in the XIX century until the recent phase of crisis and reforms. Th course is articulated on 3 units.
Unit 1 provides: a) the fundamental analytical tools for the study of social protection systems in a comparative perspective; b) an analysis of developmental factors and dynamics;
c) a presentation of the different welfare/welfare state models and regimes; d) a discussion of the "crisis" of the welfare state, paying special attention to its endogenous and exogenous determinants.
Unit 2 first applies the analytical concepts and framework presented in Unit 1 to provide an in depth analysis of two different sectors in the field of social assistance policies:
a) Anti-poverty policies and minimum income schemes
b) Childcare policies and the social investment paradigm
Further, it enlarges the territorial coverage of the course by approaching welfare development in Latin America, Eastern European countries and East Asia, with
particular attention to the relations between democracy, development and the
welfare state
Unit 3 aims at providing an in-depth study of a single welfare sector: pension policy.
A comparative perspective will be adopted in order to analyze:
a) the expansion of old age protection programs in the 20th century
b) pension reforms in 1985-2015, with particular attention to
- the dynamics and the modes of institutional change
- the politics of pension reform and theoretical implications
c) pension reforms in the Great Recession phase, 2009-15
d) The interplay between pension and labor market reforms
Prerequisites for admission
No preliminary knowledge is required to attend the course/take the exam.
Teaching methods
The course is based on 30 lecture-based sessions.
These lectures are conducted in a very interactive way in order to:
a) favour discussion, both student/professor and among students
b) stimulate critical thinking
c) fine tuning the course content in accordance with students' interests
d) strenghten students' oral communication skills.
Teaching Resources
Readings for attending students.
A full list of readings will be distributed at the beginning of the course.
For a preliminary list see the 2019/2020 syllabus on the Ariel page of the course

Readings for non attending students
Unit 1
Greve, B. (2014), Welfare and the Welfare State. Present and Future, London, Routledge.
Unit 2
Hemerijck, A. (2013) Changing Welfare States, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Unit 3
Hinrichs, K. and M. Jessoula (eds) (2012), Labour market flexibility and pension reform, Basingstoke, Palgrave McMillan.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending students.
Students may choose between the options A) and B) below:

Option A)
Students take
* an Intermediate sit-down exam on the content of Units 1 & 2
* a Final sit-down exam on the content of Unit 3
Both the Intermediate and the Final exams include a selection of multiple choice questions and 1-2 open questions.
The criteria for assessing responses to open questions are: clarity of expression, logical structure, analytical precision, comprehensiveness of information.

Option B)
Students take
* an Intermediate sit-down exam on the content of Units 1 & 2
* a "pass or fail" TEST on the content of Unit 3. This includes multiple choice questions only and gives no marks.
* a paper (around 5000 words) to be delivered by June 30, 2020
The written exam will include both multiple choice, true/false and 1-2 open question(s),
the latter requiring an articulated response.
The criteria for assessing responses to open questions are: clarity of expression, logical structure, analytical precision, comprehensiveness of information.
The criteria for assessing responses the paper are: clarity of expression, logical structure, analytical precision, comprehensiveness of information, originality.

Non attending students.
Students have to pass a sit-down written exam comprising 3 broad open questions: 1 per volume. The criteria for assessing responses to open questions are: clarity of expression, logical structure, analytical precision, comprehensiveness of information.
SECS-P/03 - PUBLIC ECONOMICS - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)
Reception:
Office Hours: see the Italian page
Room 203, 2nd Floor (entrance Via Passione 13)