What is welfare and public welfare?

Authored by: Bent Greve

Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138631649
eBook ISBN: 9781315207049
Adobe ISBN:


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The concept of welfare needs to be defined before one is able to analyse the welfare state and understand its nature (cf. Chapter 2). The development of and changes in the concept of welfare have also had implications for our understanding of what a welfare state and a welfare society are (Greve, 2008). What welfare is also relates to the philosophical and historical underpinnings of what welfare states are, have been and will be. Moreover, as most welfare state analysis deals with the public sector and its spending on welfare issues, it is important to know and understand what the public sector spending is and its implications for a variety of issues, including the organization of the public sector as well as central and decentral ways of organizing welfare states (Barr, 2004), albeit reflecting different ways to welfare (see Chapters 3 to 5). Furthermore, this may also have implications for what public welfare will have to deliver and finance and thereby for what public welfare is.

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