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Keynes and the Welfare State


  • Roger E. Backhouse
  • Bradley W. Bateman


This paper considers the question of what influence J.M. Keynes had on the evolution of the welfare state after the Second World War. First it weighs whether his non-utilitarian approach to economic theory and welfare measurement had an impact on the growth of the welfare state. Then it considers whether the influence came through Keynes’s advocacy of deficit spending. After rejecting both of these explanations the role of full employment in sustaining the welfare state is weighed. The paper concludes with a consideration of what might be necessary in preserving the welfare state in the face of the recent financial crisis and the sovereign debt crises that have emerged subsequent to the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger E. Backhouse & Bradley W. Bateman, 2012. "Keynes and the Welfare State," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(1), pages 7-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:spespe:v:html10.3280/spe2012-001002

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernadeta Baran, 2015. "Welfare State Challenges And The Concept Of Basic Income," Economy & Business Journal, International Scientific Publications, Bulgaria, vol. 9(1), pages 275-289.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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