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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. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-186, January.
    3. Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Beer Taxes, the Legal Drinking Age, and Youth Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 1914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John DiNardo & Thomas Lemieux, 1992. "Alcohol, Marijuana, and American Youth: The Unintended Effects of Government Regulation," NBER Working Papers 4212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Coate, Douglas & Grossman, Michael, 1988. "Effects of Alcoholic Beverage Prices and Legal Drinking Ages on Youth Alcohol Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 145-171, April.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1984:74:7:668-672_1 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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