Resilient Welfare States in the European Union

Anton Hemerijck, Robin Huguenot-Noël

£70.00  |  $99.00
ISBN 9781788214858
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788214865
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788214872
184 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  28 April 2022


"European welfare states are changing again – and not for the worse. To understand how, why, and with what consequences, this insightful new book by two of the continent’s leading social policy analysts provides an indispensable guide." – Jonathan Zeitlin, Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Amsterdam

"In this highly stimulating and entirely readable book, Anton Hemerijck and Robin Huguenot-Noël raise the stakes for social Europe, by making the bold claim that welfare states are inherent to any prosperous economy in the twenty-first century. A claim that, in the wake of the Covid pandemic, is impossible to refute." – Frank Vandenbroucke, Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health in the Belgian Government

"Europe has always been the living proof that equity and efficiency are perfectly compatible. As we move through the Covid-19 crisis and embark on decarbonization, we see that welfare states that focus on social investment are in an even better position to facilitate the transition. In this excellent book, Anton Hemerijck and Robin Huguenot-Noël guide us through the arguments and make a compelling case for inclusive and resilient social policies in Europe." – Anke Hassel, Professor of Public Policy, Hertie School, Berlin


The European welfare systems, established after the Second World War, have been under sustained attack since the late 1970s from the neoliberal drive towards a small state and from the market as the foremost instrument for the efficient allocation of scarce resources. After the 2008 financial crash, Europe’s high tax and generous benefits welfare states were, once again, blamed for economic stagnation and political immobilism. If anything, however, the long decade of the Great Recession proved that the welfare state remained a fundamental asset in hard times, stabilizing the economy, protecting households and individuals from poverty, reconciling gendered work and family life, while improving the skills and competences needed in Europe’s knowledge economy and ageing society. Finally, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has, unsuprisingly, brought back into the limelight the productive role of welfare systems in guaranteeing basic security, human capabilities, economic opportunities, and democratic freedoms.

In this important contribution, Anton Hemerijck and Robin Huguenot-Noël examine the nature of European welfare provision and the untruths that surround it. They evaluate the impact of the austerity measures that followed the Great Recession, and consider its future design to better equip European societies to face social change, from global competition to accelerated demographic ageing, the digitalization of work and climate change.


1. The unsurprising return of the welfare state
2. Welfare recalibration in the shadow of intensified European economic integration
3. Social investment and secure capabilities
4. Towards an E(M)U holding environment for flourishing social investment welfare states
5. The Covid-19 wake-up call to bolster long-term welfare resilience

Author Information

Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute, Florence. He was previously Centennial Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. His books include Changing Welfare States (2013) and The Uses of Social Investment (2017).

Robin Huguenot-Noël is a doctoral researcher at the European University Institute, where he is researching welfare provision in France and Germany against a background of intensifying EU economic integration. He previously worked as an economic policy advisor to the UK Treasury, the German cooperation and development agency (GIZ) and the European Policy Centre (EPC).

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