Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens offer the most systematic examination to date of the origins, character, effects, and prospects of generous welfare states in advanced industrial democracies in the post—World War II era. They demonstrate that prolonged government by different parties results in markedly different welfare states, with strong differences in levels of poverty and inequality. Combining quantitative studies with historical qualitative research, the authors look closely at nine countries that achieved high degrees of social protection through different types of welfare regimes: social democratic states, Christian democratic states, and "wage earner" states. In their analysis, the authors emphasize the distribution of influence between political parties and labor movements, and also focus on the underestimated importance of gender as a basis for mobilization.
Building on their previous research, Huber and Stephens show how high wages and generous welfare states are still possible in an age of globalization and trade competition.