Worlds of welfare capitalism and wellbeing: A multilevel analysis

Chris Deeming, David Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Social scientists in the comparative policy tradition have long argued that welfare systems in modern capitalist societies can be broken down into ideal types. The idea of different worlds of welfare capitalism has an enduring appeal and growing practical policy relevance as governments seek to enhance population wellbeing. In this paper, we explore the worlds of welfare theory from the perspective of happiness. Drawing on data from the World Values Survey, we examine how welfare regimes may contribute to wellbeing and we consider the significance of our findings for the development of social policy. By using multilevel models, it is possible to separate out effects due to observed and unobserved, as well as both individual-level and country-level, welfare state characteristics and we can make inferences to the distribution of social wellbeing across welfare typologies. We find that respondents living in liberal and conservative countries experience at least twice the odds of unhappiness of those living in social democracies, after controlling for individual- and country-level explanatory variables. The observed differences between the worlds of welfare were found to be highly statistically significant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-829
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • social policy
  • welfare theory
  • capitalist society


Dive into the research topics of 'Worlds of welfare capitalism and wellbeing: A multilevel analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this