The provider of welfare hence the relationship

The most common limitation is that Esping-Andersen’s welfare regime typology takes the gendered division of labor for granted by neglecting the role of women in the provision of welfare. This limitation stems from Esping-Andersen’s definition of work “as paid work and welfare as policies that permit, encourage, or discourage the decomodification of labor” (Lewis, 1997, p.162). The definition overlooks unpaid work which is primarily undertaken by women and focuses on the worker as a male being. This focus on men is a distorted perception because women too are workers as they take up domestic work of raising children, cleaning the house among others (Dowd, 2013). The typology overlooked the fact that the family is the largest and longest provider of welfare hence the relationship should go beyond welfare and paid work but should also include unpaid work (Ndunda, 2016).

In the absence of unpaid work which is mostly domestic and done by women, there would be no a labor market hence this typology is limited in this regard. Weak Comparative AnalysisAs earlier pointed out, in undertaking his research, Esping-Andersen used a comparative analysis of 18 OECD countries. This sample of 18 OECD countries is “too narrow to provide an adequately robust model” (Isakjee, 2017, p.6) as it is not inclusive and inexhaustive, and it’s a misclassification of countries (Scruggs ; Allan 2006). His typology is regarded as not inclusive because it did not feature other countries like the Mediterranean states which others argue should form a fourth category (Isakjee, 2017), and inexhaustive because it did not consider all regimes that could be developed. Additionally, the typology is limited as it misclassified countries into typologies that were not fit for these countries such as the United Kingdom, which after a comprehensive analysis and a “different cut off point could have fallen into another regime and not the liberal regime” (Bambra, 2007, p.1100) Evidence of such limitations are imbedded in the works of some scholars that undertook comparative analysis research using the same or quiet similar set of the 18 OECD countries used by Esping-Andersen (Ebbinghaus, 2012).

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Some scholars found that there are more than three typologies that exist. For instance, Amable (2005) categorized his typology into five models namely ” market-based economies (UK), social democratic economies (Sweden), Asian capitalism, continental European capitalism (Germany) and South European capitalism” (cited in Isakjee, 2007, p.7). Another scholar Castles and Mitchell (1993), in their study identified a fourth welfare regime in addition to Esping-Andersen’s threefold typology which they named ‘radicalism’ (cited in Bambra, 2007, p.1099). Finally, Hall and Soskice (2001) developed a dual model of welfare state classified into liberal market economy and coordinate market economy which was categorized based on a fivefold mode. There is a consensus in literature that the three categories are few and would not be able to accommodate the new arising welfare capitalist countries, hence this emergence of new welfare types.

The lack of inclusiveness of Esping-Andersen’s typology has been detected by his failure to cover certain countries in his analysis such as Portugal, Greece, Spain and the then Southern EU members (Ndunda, 2016). It is from this that this typology is said to have based its division on a small number of countries which is 18 (Van Voorhis, 2002). As an extension to this, because of basing his division on a small number, there are still variations among countries that fall in one category thus countries don’t fit perfectly or clearly into one category. His classification was therefore based on the best fit and not the perfect fit for the countries as evidenced by the fact that some countries have features of other categories even though they were placed in another category.

He did not take into account the smaller differences that exist among countries such as policies. For instance, Finland and Germany are regarded as a mix of various regime types (Ebbinghaus, 2012); Singapore, Japan, Taiwan have features of all the three types thus “emphasis on work combined with strong investment in education, low levels of state intervention and obligations on immediate family” (Aspalter, 2006 cited in Isakjee, 2017 p.6).


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