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Globalization and the Welfare State: Four Hypotheses and Some Empirical Evidence


  • Paul Bowles

    (University of Northern British Columbia)

  • Barnet Wagman

    (University of Northern British Columbia)


This paper examines some implications of the 'new globalism' for the welfare state. We examine four hypotheses about globalization and their implications for welfare state spending: the 'downward harmonization', 'upward convergence', 'convergence clubs' and 'globalization irrelevance' hypotheses. We provide evidence concerning these hypotheses by examining changes in the levels of welfare state spending for a subset of OECD countries. We find some evidence for a convergence of welfare state spending, not universally, but among countries with similar political institutions. Domestic political institutions, therefore, may affect the way in which countries respond to globalization pressures.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Bowles & Barnet Wagman, 1997. "Globalization and the Welfare State: Four Hypotheses and Some Empirical Evidence," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 317-336, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:23:y:1997:i:3:p:317-336

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    1. repec:spr:qualqt:v:52:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11135-017-0501-z is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    Globalism; Globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs


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