Understanding and explaining social welfare policies in developing nations
Bhuiyan, Md. Mahmudur
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Over the last five decades, a rich literature on the welfare state has developed. Multiple theories and models seek to explain the contemporary welfare state, including structural functionalist, structural-Marxist and Marxist perspectives, culturalist approaches, pluralist analyses, neo-institutionalist theories, power resources theory, Harold Wilensky and Lebeaux’s dual model, Richard Titmuss’s tri-polar model, and Gøsta Esping-Andersen’s tri-polar model, all designed to account for the emergence of and variations among welfare states. However, these theories and models originated within the developed world, and empirical examinations of these theories are largely restricted within this part of the world. The welfare state literature is too confined to the West today. This study examines key welfare state theories and models in the contexts of developing and least developed nations employing a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and comparative methodologies. It suggests that social policies and programs in the developing nations can be systematically understood in the light of mainstream Western theories and models of the welfare state. Therefore, in addition to challenging current practices that limit the study of the welfare state within particular geographical areas, the research presented here provides rationale for increased efforts to understand welfare policies and programs in developing nations. This will increase our knowledge about the applicability of theories in the developing world and will enrich the understanding of the developed world, and thus contribute to the advancement of welfare state scholarship.
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