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Crisis and the Welfare State: The Need for a New Distributinal Agenda

Bea Cantillon
Publication date: 
Tue, 2 Mar 2010

Contemporary welfare states remain in need of powerful policies aimed at protecting against new social risks, inclusion through work, and more equality in education and the labour market. Clearly, in less stratified societies, such as in Scandinavia, there is less scope for Matthew effects and these social policies are likely to be more effective.

However, this analysis suggests that welfare states should take more account of the highly stratified nature of ‘new social risks’, of the continuing need to protect people against the equally strongly stratified old social risks, and of the unsolved question of how to design and implement institutions that are more effective in creating equal opportunities. Adequate social security and efficient social redistribution are part and parcel of the social investment state.