Pathways to universal social security in lower income countries : explaining the emergence of welfare states in the developing world
Öktem, Kerem Gabriel
Bölükbaşı, H. Tolga
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Are there welfare states in the developing world? According to conventional wisdom there cannot be. The ‘orthodox model’ of welfare state emergence assumes that only industrialised countries can become welfare states. Yet, there is a growing literature on welfare states in developing countries. In this dissertation, I address this puzzle through two research questions: are there welfare states in the developing world? And if there are, how can we explain the emergence of these deviant cases? I explore these questions through a sequential mixed-method research design. First, I conduct a large-n fuzzy set analysis to identify welfare states in the developing world. Second, I undertake a small-n comparative-historical analysis to explain how three developing countries - Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa – became welfare states. I find two pathways to welfare stateness in lower income contexts: (1) a social democratic pathway in which centre-left parties build the welfare state in the context of democracy (2) a Bismarckian pathway, in which state elites build the welfare state in a non-democratic context. The first pathway resembles power resources theory, but labour’s role is different. The second pathway partially supports state-centred research. However, contradicting theoretical expectations, I find that state capacity is not a precondition for the welfare state. Finally, even in these deviant cases, welfare state building is connected to industrialization. By the time they became welfare states, the three cases were no longer low income countries. Therefore, I conclude that a moderate degree of development is necessary for welfare state emergence.