The New Governance of Welfare States in the United States and Europe

Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era

By Mariely López-Santana

Subjects: Political Science, Political Economy, Sociology Of Work, Public Policy
Paperback : 9781438454689, 230 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438454672, 230 pages, March 2015

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Table of contents

1. Between Unity and Flexibility: An Introduction to the Institutional Reconfiguration of Active Welfare States in Europe and the United States
2. Activation and Its Implications: Situating the Project
3. Favoring Subnational Flexibility over Standardization: Extensive Decentralization in Italy and the United States
4. Balancing Subnational Flexibility and National Unity: Decentralization in Spain and the United Kingdom (with Milena Büchs)
5. Flexibility Within Centralization: The German Case (with Milena Büchs)
6. The Intergovernmental and Governance Reconfigurations of Active Welfare States: Summary and Implications

Detailed examination of the territorial and governance dimensions of contemporary welfare reforms in the United States and Europe.


Until recently, studies of changes in the welfare state have tended to focus on transformations in the nature of social policies and their level of generosity. The New Governance of Welfare States in the United States and Europe concentrates on an often overlooked dimension: territorial and governance transformations. Employing detailed case studies and more than seventy-five interviews, Mariely López-Santana captures how a variety of postindustrial countries across both sides of the Atlantic have transformed the postwar organization of their labor market policy settings through decentralization, centralization, and delegation reforms. These changes have in turn changed the role of national and subnational levels of government, as well as nongovernmental actors, in the organization, management, and provision of labor market policies and services. López-Santana's multidisciplinary, comparative, and multilevel approach to welfare state change is an original and important step forward in our understanding of welfare reforms enacted since the mid-1990s.

Mariely López-Santana is Associate Professor of Politics and Government at George Mason University.


"…a very significant contribution … López-Santana's work demonstrates the richness of the field of research on governance and welfare policies. It will most certainly help international audiences to become familiar with discussions on European welfare systems and their reforms, which is greatly facilitated by the inclusion of the United States case in this excellent comparative book." — Publius

"The book is to be welcomed for its contribution to the theme of territorial politics and welfare, and its concern with labour activation measures. There is an increasing need for politics, polity, and policy-making approaches to pay attention to how power allocations are organized, as well as to how the fine line between flexibility and standardization, or unity and fragmentation, is constructed in contemporary societies." — Regional and Federal Studies

"...this book is a welcome contribution to a densely crowded field that points to important research questions." — Social Policy and Administration