Keywords: European social policies, Welfare regimes, Classification, Comparative methodology
The comparative analysis of social policy has represented one of the most dynamic field of public policy studies. Its recent evolution has demonstrated the improvements reached so far, but it has also provided evidence of some methodological and analytical issues that need more efforts to be dealt with. The present article sheds light on two of them: the definition of the object of the analysis (welfare regimes vs. single policy programmes); and the proliferation of classifications and typologies. The two issues are related to key research choices with both methodological and analytical consequences. The future development of comparative studies on the welfare state and their further success will largely depend on the way the points mentioned above will be tackled by social policy analysts.