Kees van Kersbergen holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences (European University Institute, Florence, Italy, cum laude). He is professor of Comparative Politics at Aarhus University. He has published widely in the area of welfare state studies in refereed journals and with major university presses. His latest book is Comparative Welfare State Politics: Development, Opportunities, and Reform (2014, with Barbara Vis).
The Welfare State in Europe
This chapter discusses the strengths and weaknesses of European welfare states, which protects citizens in hard economic times. In many countries governments tend to respond with austerity policies that not only undermine the protective function of the welfare state, but weaken its economic, social and political support base. Increasing inequality is one of the observable consequences, which is associated with bad social and political outcomes in terms of health, social mobility, social and political trust, political representation and participation.