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Building the Eco-Social State: Do Welfare Regimes Matter?

  • Max Koch
  • Martin Fritz
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 679-703
Publication/Series: Journal of Social Policy
Volume: 43
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

Authors such as Dryzek, Gough and Meadowcroft have indicated that social-democratic welfare states could be in a better position to deal with development of the ‘green’ or ‘eco’state, and the intersection of social and environmental policies, than conservative or liberal welfare regimes (synergy hypothesis). However, this hypothesis has as yet not been examined in comparative empirical research. Based on comparative empirical data from EUROSTAT, the

World Bank, the OECD, the Global Footprint Network and the International Social Survey Programme, we are carrying out two research operations: First, by applying correspondence analysis, we contrast the macro-structural welfare and sustainability indicators of thirty countries and ask whether clusters largely follow the synergy hypothesis. Second, we raise the issue of whether differences in the institutional and organisational capabilities of combining

welfarewith environmental policies are reflected in people’s attitudes and opinions. With regard to the first issue, our results suggest that there is no ‘automatic’ development of the ecostate

based on already existing advanced welfare institutions. Representatives of all welfare regimes are spread across established, deadlocked, failing, emerging and endangered ecostates. As for

the second issue, the results are mixed. While responses to the statements ‘economic growth always harms the environment’ and ‘governments should pass laws to make ordinary people

protect the environment, even if it interferes with people’s rights to make their own decisions’did not vary according to welfare regimes, people from social-democratic countries expressed

more often than average their willingness to accept cuts in their standard of living in order to protect the environment.


  • Social Work
  • eco-social state
  • welfare regimes
  • eco-social policies
  • ecology
  • Welfare


  • ISSN: 0047-2794
Max Koch
E-mail: max [dot] koch [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se


School of Social Work

+46 46 222 12 68


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Lund University
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