PSCI 289
The welfare state in comparative perspective Spring 2022
Division II
Cross-listed POEC 289
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Modern life has, in some ways, become less risky. You are unlikely to be trampled by a mammoth. But social risk has not disappeared–you could lose your job, get into an accident, or find yourself plunged somehow into poverty. Most countries around the world have built elaborate institutions to ensure citizens’ welfare by protecting some people from some risks, but not all people and not all risks. Moreover, these institutions vary considerably both over time and between countries. This course examines those institutions. Our goal is to explain how and why welfare states vary and why there is so much inequality in the distribution of risk. We will do so by investigating the different kinds of institutions that mediate risks throughout the lifecycle, from parental leave to old age pensions, and by comparing these institutions between different countries. While focusing primarily on the welfare states of Western Europe, we will also examine how the politics of social risk unfold around the world, extending our investigation to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We will conclude by reflecting on what lessons the welfare state offers for managing this century’s biggest social risk: climate change.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 3615
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 3 essays; 2 presentations; participation
Prerequisites: One introductory political science course and/or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Political science majors, political economy concentrators
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI 289 Division II POEC 289 Division II
Attributes: POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses

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