This study aimed to develop a cultural analysis of social welfare. By applying grid-group cultural theory, this study questioned the validities of the pre-existing studies of comparative welfare policy, and dealt with the two research agendas: develop ...
This study aimed to develop a cultural analysis of social welfare. By applying grid-group cultural theory, this study questioned the validities of the pre-existing studies of comparative welfare policy, and dealt with the two research agendas: developing a new typology of welfare state; examining the explanatory power of culture on social welfare.
Thus, the task of the first year was to develop a new typology of welfare state, challenging the established typology of Esping-Andersen(1990) which could be characterized by its limited coverage and static feature. In order to propose an alternative way of looking at the welfare state regimes, this study applied grid-group cultural theory which not only provided four ideal and fifteen hybrid types of welfare state, but also enabled us to overcome the limitations of Esping-Andersen's typology. Empirical test of the new typology was conducted by adopting fuzzy-set ideal type analysis, and by selecting nineteen OECD countries in Europe and America with three periods(1989-1993, 1999-2001, 2008-2012) of European/World Value Survey data. The results of the analyses showed that while US, Portugal and Sweden belonged to the ideal type suggested from cultural theory, the other countries belonged to the hybrid types. As to confirm the validity of the theoretical and empirical results, this study applied two indices - income redistribution after tax and employment protection index - to compare the fuzzy set analysis results, which supported the validity of the new typology. Upon these findings, this study argued that the welfare state typology based on grid-group cultural theory could provide better understandings of the welfare state configurations and the dynamics of welfare states along with the passage of time.
In the second year, the goal of the study was to analyze the influences of culture on social welfare(in this study income inequality). Culture as interaction patterns among actors in a society can be seen as diverse aspects of impacts on social welfare: 1) the direct/indirect influences(when it comes to indirect influences, the welfare policy such as cash benefits can play a mediating role between culture and income inequality), and 2) necessary/sufficient conditions on income inequality. Using data from 19 Western countries, this study applies path analysis for the former and necessary/sufficient condition analysis for the latter. First, ‘group’ is the most influential factor to decrease the income inequality, and when 'group' effects are combined with cash benefits policy, the decreases in income inequality become more effective. On the contrary, the direct impacts of ‘grid’ is to increase the income inequality. However, if 'grid' is mediated through the cash benefits policy, the extent of income inequality could be alleviated. Second, while ‘group’ is a necessary condition to the income inequality in Northern European and European countries, it is a sufficient condition in Southern European and English countries. On the other hand, while ‘grid’ has a necessary relations with income inequality in all the European countries, it is a sufficient condition in English countries.