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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Undergraduate Course: Political Economy of Work and Welfare (SCPL10038)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDo large welfare states inhibit work? Or do they actually make countries more economically successful? Do welfare states offer the opportunity to tame the inequalities produced by capitalist systems? And if so, why isn't there more redistribution in contemporary societies? How is technological change reshaping labour markets? These are central questions for political economists as they allow to examine the interaction between states and markets and to investigate the ways in which capitalism and democracy co-exist. Work and welfare are precisely at the core of these relationships and they therefore provide a unique vantage point to understand how political and economic structures relate to one another in contemporary societies. Throughout the course, we will ask questions about the past, present and future of work and welfare and we will answer them through the lenses of (comparative) political economy.
Course description The course is organised in two parts. In the first part we lay the theoretical building blocks by reviewing the political and economic dynamics that led to the institutionalisation of different models of labour market and welfare state in different countries. The first part of the course will also make students familiar with the main theories accounting for variation and diversity in contemporary advanced capitalist countries. In the second part of the course we will focus on major contemporary socio-economic trends (such as labour market deregulation, the rise of knowledge economies, the increasing role of the financial sector, and processes of technological change) and we will examine the implications of these phenomena across various labour market and welfare state policies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand theoretically why and how different models of capitalism appeared and evolved in different countries
  2. Examine the economic and political structures within which modern labour markets and welfare states develop
  3. Assess the relationship between global socio-economic trends and differentially structured national models of capitalism
  4. Identify the political and economic drivers of change in selected labour market and welfare state policies
Reading List
Esping-Andersen, Gosta. 1990. The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Hall, Peter A, and David Soskice (eds). 2001. Varieties of capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thelen, Kathleen. 2014. Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Beramendi, Pablo, Silja Häusermann, Herbert Kitschelt, and Hanspeter Kriesi (eds). 2015. The politics of advanced capitalism. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Baccaro, Lucio, and Chris Howell. 2017. Trajectories of neoliberal transformation: European industrial relations since the 1970s. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Manow, Philip, Bruno Palier, and Hanna Schwander (eds). 2018. Welfare Democracies and Party Politics: Explaining Electoral Dynamics in Times of Changing Welfare Capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Both pieces of assessment will foster generic cognitive skills (e.g. critical analysis).
The group essay will also specifically develop attributes around accountability and working with others.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Niccolo Durazzi
Tel: (0131 6) 51 1929
Course secretary
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