Comparative Social Policy, Theories and Methods
Comparative Social Policy provides students with an introduction to cross-national social policy research, conveying the fascinating and challenging issues involved in conducting research of this kind. The book examines the theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches, discusses prevailing concepts and reflects on methodological difficulties. The authors use examples from a wide range of social policy analysis to illustrate what can be gained by conducting comparative social policy research.The first part of the book provides a broad overview of the growing interest in comparative welfare state research and a discussion of major theoretical and methodological aspects relevant to comparative social research in general. Part II provides readers with an understanding of previous work in the subject, major approaches, important concepts and theories as well as methodological difficulties within comparative research in particular policy fields (health, housing, family policy, social care, social security, labour market policy).The final section addresses particular themes and issues across these fields and highlights the essential components of comparative social policy research, particularly the need to explore these issues carefully to gain awareness of subtle cross-national differences and thus avoid misleading results.
The book includes differing country samples and sizes and takes examples from Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region. All the chapters reflect on relevant conceptual and methodological approaches, each is written for the student reader and concludes with a guide to further reading.