Rethinking measures of democracy and welfare state universalism: Lessons from subnational research




Democracy and the welfare state are two of the most extensively studied concepts and themes in the field of comparative politics. Debate about how to best measure the two concepts has failed to contemplate the extent to which political and social rights are uniformly present across distinct regions of the national territory, despite the presence of substantial subnational research that underscores wide variation inside countries. We argue that this omission hampers our understanding of the two phenomena and we propose a new measure of democracy and healthcare universalism, which we call the Adjusted Measures of Democracy and Welfare Universalism. The new measures integrate territorial inequality into existing national-level indicators, providing a more accurate picture of country performance and opening the door to new, multi-level theory building.

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Copyright © 2019 Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. This article first appeared in Regional & Federal Studies 29:2 (2019), 135-163.

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