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Comparative Social Policy - SPY00003M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kevin Caraher
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To introduce the comparative approach to the study of welfare states
  • To understand the issues associated with comparing welfare states
  • To introduce some of the key theoretical and policy debates in the comparative study of welfare states
  • To explore the different ways in which countries tackle similar social policy problems and the effectiveness of those policies
  • To give an overview of the institutional arrangements that underpin various models of welfare and the social forces that have shaped their development
  • To introduce and explore some of the key comparative welfare state data sources

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module a student should have:

  • Awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of a comparative approach to the study of welfare states
  • Familiarity with, and the ability to critically assess, some of the key theories concerning welfare state development
  • Familiarity with the key data sets used in comparative welfare state research
  • A basic knowledge of the welfare arrangements that exist in a range of countries and the broad types of welfare state that exist in economically advanced nations
  • An appreciation of the complex interplay of social forces that shapes welfare state development


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully

We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.

Feedback will be given in three ways:

(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.

(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.

(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.

Indicative reading

Arts, W. A. and Gelissen, J. (2002)  Three worlds of welfare capitalism or more? A state-of-the-art report Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 137-58.

Bradshaw, J. and Finch, N. (2002) A comparison of child benefit packages in 22 countries,  Department for Work and Pensions Research Report, Leeds: Corporate Document Services. No. 174, pp. 15-22.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990)  The three worlds of welfare capitalism Cambridge: Polity Press. pp. 54

Scruggs, L. and Allan, J. (2006)  Welfare state decommodification in 18 OECD countries: a replication and revision Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 55-72

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.