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Decommodification and the worlds of welfare revisited.

Bambra, C. (2006) 'Decommodification and the worlds of welfare revisited.', Journal of European social policy., 16 (1). pp. 73-80.


This paper critically examines the theoretical, empirical and methodological limitations of Esping-Andersen’s Three Worlds of Welfare decommodification index. It highlights an, to date, overlooked error in Esping-Andersen’s original calculations that led to the incorrect positioning of three borderline countries (Japan, the UK and Ireland) and resulted in the empirically erroneous composition of the Three Worlds of Welfare. Updated decommodification data from 1998/99 are used to explore the influential role of variable weighting in the creation of the three worlds typology. Finally, the paper revisits the decommodification index to examine how the relationships between the countries have changed since 1980. The paper concludes by questioning the extent to which the Three Worlds of Welfare still exist, and indeed, at least in empirical terms, the extent to which they ever did.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Esping-Andersen, Decommodification, Methodology, Regimes.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal Journal of European social policy 16/1 2006 © SAGE Publications at the Journal of European social policy page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Record Created:28 Jan 2009
Last Modified:20 Oct 2011 17:06

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