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Beyond Comparativism: Israel’s Welfare History in a Non-European Comparative Perspective – An Aricle

Happy to share with you my recent article on the limits of comparativist research methods, when they applied to late-developing economies such as Israel. In a nutshell, the article explains why Esping-Andersen’s theory of welfare is not able to explain the dynamic of welfare state formation in Israel. In one sentence, the theory’s scope conditions are not satisfied by the Israeli case. The article argues that inter-class conflict theories are not applicable to Israel because Israel is a small open economy, and therefore intra-class conflicts are more dominant than inter-class conflicts. Based on my previous article on the topic, I argue that the welfare state in Israel was the victory of the middle-class rather than of the working class.

This article critiques Esping-Andersen’s class-based theory of welfare regimes, demonstrating that the theory’s scope conditions are not fulfilled by the Israeli case during the country’s first three decades. It traces the transition of Israel’s welfare regime and the consolidation of its welfare state in the 1970s. Based on historical analysis, the article points out two incongruities between Esping-Andersen’s theory scope conditions and the case of Israel. Further, it argues that the transformation of Israel’s welfare regime can be better explained by institutional historical theories that highlight the impact of the production regime on welfare and the significance of conflicts between high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

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