The last twenty or so years have seen the end of the steady expansion of welfare states, and a movement towards more mixed systems of financing and provision. Nearly all European governments are now seeking ways to control expenditure and reduce their involvement in the delivery of services. There is growing decentralisation and territorial variation, with differences also emerging in the rationales underlying services like social security, health and personal social services. The picture is further complicated by the move away from hierarchy and bureaucracy towards "soft" governance approaches in the management of services. Such developments are placing the schemes developed by Esping-Andersen and other authors for classifying welfare states under strain, and necessitate a review of the factors and typologies used in undertaking international comparisons. This paper presents two case studies (of a Mediterranean and a liberal regime), in an attempt to highlight critical factors in current ways of classifying welfare systems.
Keywords: Welfare Regimes, Health Systems, Welfare Typologies, Governance