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The Economics of the Welfare State

Sixth Edition

Nicholas Barr

05 February 2020

ISBN: 9780198748588

424 pages

In Stock

Price: £49.99

The only book to provide a focused and accessible overview of the UK and European welfare systems, moving away from general public economics to concentrate on cash benefits, the health system, and education.



The sixth edition of this successful textbook discusses the different parts of the welfare system and, in particular, cash benefits, the health service, and education.

  • The only UK textbook to focus on welfare issues such as education, health care, pensions and poverty relief, rather than general public economics
  • Analyses the major elements of the welfare state within a coherent, theoretical framework, to help students engage with the discussions
  • Emphasises British and European welfare systems, allowing students to see the direct relevance and real-world application of their learning
  • An international range of examples gives students the opportunity to compare different institutions and global welfare issues
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Brand new 'Where are we in the story?' feature which identifies how each chapter fits in with the rest of the book
  • Increased cross-references help students recall the key content of previous chapters and signpost how the material is linked
  • Additional discussion of gender incorporated throughout the book, with a new section in Chapter 5
  • End of chapter discussion questions expanded, giving readers further opportunities to test their understanding
  • Updated data, references, and policy discussion

About the Author(s)

Nicholas Barr, Professor of Public Economics, European Institute, the London School of Economics

Table of Contents

    Part 1: Concepts
    2:Political theory: Social justice and the state
    3:Economic theory 1: State intervention
    4:Economic theory 2: Insurance
    5:Distribution: Welfare, poverty, and inequality
    Part 2: Cash Benefits
    6:Insurance: Unemployment, sickness, and disability
    7:Consumption smoothing: Old-age pensions
    8:Poverty relief
    Part 3: Benefits in Kind
    9:Health and health care
    10:School education
    11:Tertiary education
    Part 4: Epilogue
    12:Conclusion: Looking to the future

Additional Resources

The Economics of the Welfare State is augmented by a range of online resources for both lecturers and students.