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Seelkopf, Laura and Starke, Peter (2019): Social Policy by Other Means: Theorizing Unconventional Forms of Welfare Production. In: Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Vol. 21, No. 3: pp. 219-234

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The goal of this special issue is to highlight the importance of unconventional social policies, theorize their development in comparison with traditional welfare state accounts and outline a new research agenda. In this introduction to the special issue, the editors present the concept of social policy by other means as encompassing two kinds of unconventional social policy (from the point of view of mainstream comparative research): First, functional equivalents to formal systems of social protection and, second, non-state provision of benefits. The concept builds upon a sizeable, but fragmented literature in comparative welfare state research. While numerous examples demonstrate that social policy by other means is more pervasive in both OECD and non-OECD countries than often acknowledged, a brief survey of the top 20 articles in the field reveals that this fact is not sufficiently reflected in the academic literature. With reference to both existing studies and the contributions to this special issue, the editors go on to explore (1) the different forms of social policy by other means, (2) explanatory theories and (3) their effectiveness in terms of social outcomes. They close by outlining a research agenda.

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