CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Using the results of an international research project and employing a particular method (the “open method of comparison”) to enrich international comparison, this paper highlights several aspects of the evolution of (home) care regimes, including, in particular, the role of the informal sector and the organizational landscape of service provision. It suggests a reconsideration of the path dependence approach in the comparative analysis of welfare states, given the re-composition of these regimes on the basis of existing “ingredients,” but also following a selective borrowing and adaptation of new elements from foreign systems. It seems that, since the 1990s, new opportunities have arisen for applying several approaches to one and the same system, with the discourse about “care” becoming more international overall. In addition, the increasing marketization of care systems appears to erode existing architectures of “care” and to facilitate the mutual combinations of different welfare state traditions.


  • path dependence
  • internationalization
  • welfare state
  • care regime
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