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Comparative & International Social Policy Research Methods - SPY00033M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Antonios Roumpakis
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

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 analytical and methodological techniques and debates in the macro-comparative study of welfare states; and
  • To introduce and explore some key macro-comparative welfare state data sources

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students 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 and change;
  • A basic knowledge of key comparative research methodologies that exist to explore the broad types of welfare regimes;
  • Familiarity with the key data sets used in comparative welfare state research and an ability to manipulate them in a meaningful way


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Information currently unavailable

Indicative reading

There is no single book that covers the content of the module well as most of the main textbooks focus on describing theories, policies and countries rather than training students how to compare countries using the data that is available. Because of this, students will be given detailed handouts each week once the data workshops begin. Links to key relevant resources will be provided on the VLE each week too. However, the following textbooks may be useful in terms of providing background knowledge about substantive issues in the macro-comparative literature:
  • Armingeon, K. and Bonoli, G. (2006) The Politics of Post-Industrial Welfare States: Adapting Post-War Welfare States to New Social Risks, London: Routledge.
  • Castles, F. (2004) The Future of the Welfare State. Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ellison, N. (2006) The Transformation of Welfare States?, London/New York: Routledge.
  • Esping-Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Esping-Andersen, G. (1996) Welfare States in Transition, London: Sage. (esp. chapters 1-5, and chapter 9)
  • Esping-Andersen, G. (1999) Social Foundations of Post-Industrial Economies, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press. (esp. chapter 5)
  • Esping-Andersen, G. with Gallie, D., Hemerijck, A. and Myles, J. (2002) Why We Need a New Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Farnsworth and Irving (2011) Social Policy in Challenging Times. Economic Crisis and Welfare Systems,Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Ferrera, M. and Rhodes,M. (eds.)(2000) Recasting European Welfare States, London: Frank Cass.
  • Greve, B. (2006) The Future of the Welfare State: European and Global Perspectives, Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Hemerijck, A. (2012) Changing Welfare States, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Huber, E. and Stephens,J. (2001) Development and Crisis of the Welfare State, Chicago: Chicago University Press
  • Kennet, P. (2001) Comparative Social Policy, Milton Keynes: Open UP, chapters 2 & 3.
  • Kennet, P. (2004) A handbook of comparative social policy, Edward Elgar, section IV.
  • Iversen, T. (2005) Capitalism, Democracy and Welfare, New York/Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Pierson, C. (2006) Beyond the Welfare State? The New Political Economy of Welfare, 3rd Edition, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Pierson, C. and Castles, F. G. (2007) The Welfare State Reader, 2nd Edition, Bristol: Polity Press.
  • Pierson, P. (ed.) (2001) The New Politics of the Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Morel, N., Palier, B. and Palme, J. (2012) Towards a Social Investment State? Ideas, Policies and Challenges, Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Scharpf, F. W. and Schmidt, V. A. (eds.) (2000) Welfare and Work in the Open Economy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Seeleib-Kaiser, M. (2008) Welfare State Transformations: Comparative Perspectives, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Taylor-Gooby, P. (ed.) (2001) Welfare States under Pressure, London: Sage.
  • Taylor-Gooby, P. (2004) New Risks, New Welfare: The Transformation of the European Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press

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.