Is Andersens three welfare regime theory outdated and problematic

Summary: This essay argues the extent to which Esping Andersen ‘s three welfare-regime theory is outdated in pattern and debatable in theory. I restrict myself to decomodification index ( labour market policies ) to explicate the extent at which the theory has become outdated in pattern utilizing illustrations from Germany and Sweden although the categorization besides looked at the rules of stratification and the extent of private and public mix. Decommodification harmonizing to Esping ( 1990, pp.22 ) “ is the extent to which persons can keep a support without trust on the labor market and when a service is rendered as a affair of right ” . To analyze the extent the theory is debatable I looked at Italy with mention to the misclassification and Denmark with mention to gender.


The public assistance government theory of Gosta Esping Andersen has greatly influenced literatures, research, policies and comparing of public assistance province since the 90 ‘s when the book “ three universes of public assistance capitalist economy ” was published. Esping ( 1990, pp.19,29 ) was of the option that there should be a re-specification of the conceptualization of public assistance province from societal outgo to decommodification, sratification and private-public mix. The societal outgo theory posited that the sum of societal outgo reveals the states committedness to public assistance. He said that although outgo is of import in public assistance provinces merely concentrating on the sum of disbursement could be misdirecting as the disbursement could be directed to a peculiar group and non based solidarity. The earlier work of Thus the work of ( Boje.1996 ; 19 cited in Arts and Gelissen 2002 ; 138 ) stated that the work Marchall ( 1950 ) on public assistance province being about citizenship and Titmuss ( 1958 ) on residuary and institutional public assistance province laid the foundations for Esping-Andersen ‘s analysis.

The analysis was done utilizing 18 ( OECD ) public assistance states utilizing three rules or variables. These are: de-commodification that “ implies the extent to which persons a society can last outside the labour market in footings of illness, unemployment and pension benefits, stratification means the extent to which the province addition stratification or cut down it and private-public mix which he defined as the extent to which duties of public assistance is shared among the market, single and province in the proviso of public assistance ” Esping ( 1990, pp.26 ) . Looking at de-commodification he suggests that to mensurate the extent to which welfare provinces de-commodify citizens the eligibility regulations and limitations on entitlement to benefits in this instance it is pension, illness and unemployment benefits. If entitlement is non based on old employment, fiscal part, means tested, easy to acquire, non for a limited continuance so the public assistance programme is extremely de-commodifying and frailty versa. In add-on, if the benefits are below the criterion of go forthing acceptable in the society that consequences in the donee traveling back to the labor market, so the programme is non de-commodifying Esping ( 1990, pp.47-48 ) .

After the analysis, he states that the differences among the public assistance provinces are non linearly distributed but cluster into regimes-types.



Conservative Government













Adopted from: Esping Andersen, 1990: 52.

From the tabular array above we can see the three different public assistance governments and the public assistance states that are under these governments. The de-commodification tabular array is used because my essay focal point on this. In Esping ‘s ( 1990, p.29-33 ) sentiment these difference traveling back to history are as a consequence of the nature of category mobilisation ( particularly of the working category ) , class-political action strucutures, and their historical bequest of regime institutionalization. The difference in the interaction of these three factors in the different public assistance provinces has besides shaped their hereafter in footings of the nature of public assistance services provided.

Harmonizing to Esping Andersen ( 1990, p.26-27,48 ) de-commodification is low in the broad government and the genteelness land for inequality. The broad government found common among the Anglo-Saxon states, believes strongly in the markets ability to supply for the citizen as those who want to work will be employed and that societal protection merely does more injury than good to the citizens. Broad government theoretical account uplifts the sentiment that every citizen should be active in the labor market. Therefore, the means-tested aid benefit system modified from the hapless jurisprudence is used for entitlement to benefits. This theoretical account does non supply benefits on the evidences of citizens ‘ right and the authorities proviso is restricted to those that can non take part in the market. It is extremely restricted. Examples are the American auxiliary security income ( SSI ) and the British strategy of auxiliary benefit. Benefits are foused on the low-income groups and province dependents. The entitlements are more restricted and associated with stigma.

The conservative corporatist government found in states like Germany, France. In this government Esping noted that proviso of public assistance was high and granting of societal right was non a job nevertheless entitlement was based on category and position. Being shaped by the church at that place, exist the norm to keep the old order of the societal position ( feudal public assistance agreement ) . Entitlement through the societal insurance system is conditional on the work public presentation ( labour market engagement ) and fiscal parts made ( esping 1990, pp.26 ) . For illustration the entitlement to unemployment benefit differ harmonizing to part in old employment ( Fleckenstein 2008, pp.178 ) . The 3rd government which Esping uphold high as the extremely de-commodifing public assistance province is the societal democratic, in which the rule of equality and catholicity ( Beveridge rule of cosmopolitan rights of citizens ) is imbedded in the proviso of public assistance programmes instead than making a disparity between the different category in the province. Eligibility to benefits is given if one is a citizen or had stayed for a long clip ( level rate benefits ) and non on anterior work public presentation, nevertheless employment is encouraged to hold the resorts to supply public assistance. ( Esping 1990, p.27-48 ) .


The presence of globalisation, lifting unemployment, lasting asceticism as Pierson ( 1998, p. 411-456 ) noted as a consequence of slow economic growing, has led a displacement to a more productive than a protective public assistance province and as Gooby ( 2004, p.1 ) identifies that “ alterations in population, household construction, labour markets and the coming to adulthood of expensive public assistance provinces ” has challenged the public assistance provinces. Therefore, inquiries arise about the relevancy of the three-regime theory in this present clip. Bearing in head that the theory is dated back every bit far as 1990 and several events like those mentioned above has changed the public assistance system of states in the government bunchs. In Germany, I will look at the displacement in the conservative way of two separate public aid strategy for the long-run unemployed to one integrated societal aid strategy with strong accent on activation.

The German public assistance province of Esping Andersen public assistance government was one of saving of societal position in which entitlement to benefits were based on anterior employment and degree of income. However soon there is a displacement towards “ the Anglo- American theoretical account of mostly means tested, level rate idle benefits ”[ 1 ]( Hassel and Williamson, 2004 pp.13 ) . The Hartz IV jurisprudence brought about this alteration. The German province antecedently had three different benefit systems for the unemployed viz. the unemployment benefit, unemployment aid and societal aid benefits. In other to keep societal position, the unemployment benefit was given based on last earned income and the continuance varied harmonizing to sum of clip spent in anterior employment and age, they are non enforced to take up the occupation provided as therefore one cold get benefits for a continuance of 32 months. The unemployment aid has unlimited continuance and was normally taken those whose employment benefit had run out ( Fleckenstein 2008, pp.178 ) . On the other manus, those that lacked entitlement from the insurance part had to utilize the rigorous agencies tested societal aid benefits and take up of any occupations was compulsory.

The Hartz jurisprudence nevertheless regrouped the benefit schemes into two groups, the ‘unemployment benefit 1 ‘ and ‘unemployment benefit II ‘ . The unemployment benefit II is the unemployment benefit and societal aid benefit integrated together for the long term unemployed and the unemployment benefit I is the unemployment benefit. Entitlement for the unemployment benefit II are based on the societal aid eligibility regulations. The long term unemployed now rely on the unemployment benefit 1 as the continuance of the unemployment benefit was cut to 12 months and older workers from 55 and above had theirs extended to 18months ( Deutscher Bundestag, 2003 cited in Flectkentein 2008, pp.179 ) . The long-run unemployed are so subjected to re-commodification through activation steps for reintegration into the labour market. The unemployed individual is provided with preparation or societal services to assist better the employability position of the person and is expected to take up any occupation offered and show marks of actively looking for a occupation to forestall decrease suspension or loss of benefit. In Esping Andresen ‘s theory this was the implicit in feature of the broad government but today there is a displacement in the German conservative, saving of the societal order public assistance province to a more broad public assistance province.

Consequently, refering Sweden ‘s societal insurance based pension systems reforms have occurred that has questioned the traditional catholicity of the Swedish public assistance province. Harmonizing to Esping Andersen ( 1990, p.83-84 ) utilizing estimation of occupational pension outgo as a per centum of the GDP between 1950 and 1980 the Swedish pensions is one in which the private sector played a fringy function since authorities statute law did non back up it. In add-on, his analysis public-private pension mix, the Swedish private pension sector proviso and societal security proviso of 85.5 % of the GDP for 1980 and Australia that is regarded as broad public assistance province had a big private pension sector proviso and a low societal security pension of 59.4 % . He therefore posits ( 1990, p.80-86 ) that the Swedish system ensures of the obliteration of position and market strategy of pension proviso and the extent to which the populace and private sectors provide societal protection determines provides a structural context of de-commodification of public assistance governments. However, Esping-Andersen made his decisions utilizing 1980 information before the recession Sweden in the 1990s and at that place had to be reforms in the traditional pension system. Harmonizing to Schludi ( 2005, pp.89,90 ) the traditional pension system provides basic pension for all occupants in Sweden over 16 old ages of including aliens and three strategies made up the national pension system these were the basic ( cosmopolitan level rate pension ) , gaining related auxiliary ( ATP ) and partial pension strategies. The age for entitlement for the basic pension is 65.

With the recession Schludi ( 2005, p.97 ) besides noted that the pension system sifted from the defined-benefit to the defined-contribution type and the private pension strategy exist on a compulsory footing. This is based on ‘lifetime income ‘ unlike the old system that was based on best 15 old ages and a full pension was gotten after 30 old ages of part. The entitlement age increased from 65 to 66, there were besides rigorous eligibility regulations of 40 old ages of abode and 30 part old ages into the earning related auxiliary pension strategy. Prior to this clip, every 1 that has resided in the state for five old ages was entitled to the benefits. A information from Jackson and Howe ( 2003, pp.24 ) showed that private pension benefit as a per centum of the GDP for the twelvemonth 2002, was 2.2 % and is projected to increase to 5.3 % in 2040. This shows increasing engagement in the private sector in the proviso of pension benefit. Besides refering unemployment insurance benefit the Swedish reform programme for the growing of Jobs 2008 to 2010 study[ 2 ]shows that the unemployment insurance waiting twenty-four hours was increased from five to seven yearss and the continuance of unemployment insurance benefit for the parttime unemployed is limited to 75 yearss. In add-on ( OECD.2004, p.11 ) study revealed that the eligibility for a reclamation of the unemployment insurance benefits is no longer given on the bases of engagement in the active labor market programmes, and the unemployment benefit can merely be extended merely one time doing a sum of 600 yearss ( 300 yearss the first clip and merely one extra 300days ) , unlike before when it could be extended over and over once more[ 3 ]. This shows tightening of the eligibility standards and the forcing of people back to the labour force.

Problematic in the theory

The theory of Esping Andersen has faced several unfavorable judgments from observers. Humanistic disciplines and Gelissen ( 2002, p. ) notes that these unfavorable judgments range from the misclassification of Italy under the corporatist theoretical account and Antipodeans states ( Australia and New Zealand ) into the broad government, the disregard of the Mediterranean states ( Spain, Greece and Portugal ) from the theory, to the disregard of gender ( adult females ) in the proviso of public assistance and the focal point of public assistance province analysis on societal transportations pretermiting the fact public assistance province is besides about the bringing of services like wellness attention, instruction and societal services. in this visible radiations, several people have come up with more typologies.

Refering the misclassification of Italy the article by Ferrera ( 1996, p.17-37 ) will be used. Esping Andersen ( 1990, p.52 ) grouped Italy aboard Germany, France consequences in the disregard of certain curious features of the peculiar groups of states like Greece, Spain and, Portugal, which he neglects in his analyses. He noted that although in Italy like the conservativists hard currency benefits particularly pension is based on occupational position, parts and is fragmented in that there are different strategies for the private employee ‘s civil retainers and the ego employed. However, they are different from the pure conservative states, in the sense that there is a enormous spread between the nucleus sectors workers ( white neckband workers ) of the labor market that receive really high benefits ( illness or impermanent unemployment benefits ) and the workers in weak sectors receive weak support. There is besides deficiency of minimal national income strategy for low-income households. The immature unemployed receives no basic benefit from the province, there is therefore high dependance on the household. Due of deficiency of safety cyberspace for the citizens the province is characterised by strong political corruptness and public establishments are ruled and manipulated by strong political force for their selfish involvement. To the extent, that citizens sell their ballots to acquire societal aid benefit at times.

This shows that although Italy and conservative public assistance provinces portion Catholic history and the occupational and part based benefit. The societal political flight differs in the sense that the conservative States have welfare systems that covers the population. As such Esping Andersen ‘s theory, missed out a really of import public assistance sate way ( southern public assistance province ) that is necessary for effectual comparing of public assistance sates and societal policies.

Apart from the misreckoning of Italy as portion of the conservative government, Esping Andersen ‘s government theory failed to integrate gender in his analysis of public assistance provinces. Several observers as Lewis 1992, Bussemaker and Kersbergen 1994 have stressed integrating gender will assist derive a better apprehension of public assistance province policies and a more valid government theory. Esping Andersen noted by, Bussemaker and Kersbergen ( 1994, pp.12,13 ) , neglects the fact that apart from the province and market the household besides provides public assistance. Lewis ( 1992, p.160 ) referred to this as ‘unpaid work ‘ . Esping Andersen ‘s analysis focal point on how the relationship between the sate and market affect the agreement of societal policy, and Bussemaker and Kersbergen ( 1994, pp.20 ) noted that it is non plenty to see the relationship between the province, market and the society without looking into premises of gender that shape the substructure of societal policy.

For illustration in Denmark, gender dealingss have shaped societal policy and assist to understand the Dutch societal policy. Bussemaker and Kersbergen ( 1994, pp.23 ) asserted that the Dutch public assistance system can be efficaciously understood when the historical differentiation between the breadwinner and caretakers are taken considered. The foundation of the Dutch public assistance was on the differentiation between the “ paid labor ( work forces ) endowed with generous societal rights and unpaid labor ( adult females ) derive benefit based on married and domestic position ” and, means- tested agreement is used to obtain benefits. This leads to high degree of stratification between work forces and adult females. The moral political orientation behind this differentiation is that equal societal citizenship rights will be a menace to solidarity. This implies That although Denmark public assistance State is characterized with high grade of de- commodification, catholicity and low inequality as Esping Andersen theory suggests, it is because the de-commodification index used focused on pay labor ( chiefly to work forces ) , who receive generous benefits. Therefore, the theoretical model of Esping Andersen ( 1990 ) failed to supply in-depth analysis of the Dutch public assistance province policies.


In the face asceticism, doing Welfare States to reconstitute public assistance polices the destiny of Espign- Andersen ‘s three government theory on de-commodification will go on to confront the menace of been outdated.