The "welfare state" is in everybody's mouth. Some say wonders of it, others blame it for everything under the sun.
Implicit in these discussions is that we all know what the welfare state is.
But, do we? Were all welfare states created equal? What implications different welfare states (note the words: in plural) could have?
A fascinating summary of Gosta Esping-Andersen's book "The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism" (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990).
See also "Esping-Andersen's Welfare-State Typology, Social Stratification, and Unintended Consequences", at Naked Keynesianism.