This is a review article that I wrote with Georg Picot and Dominik Geering on how the relationship between parties and welfare states has changed and how we should analyze it.
This article discusses recent research on party politics and the welfare state differing from traditional „partisan politics theory‟. The traditional approach states that left- and right-wing parties hold contrasting positions on welfare issues, depending on the interests of their respective electorates. This view has recently been challenged by three strands of research, which emphasize 1) the effects of electoral change on parties‟ policy positions, 2) the role of context, notably electoral institutions, party competition and the configuration of party systems, and 3) the impact of different linkages between parties and electorates (particularistic versus programmatic). We discuss the implications of these arguments for the applicability of partisan theory and identify theoretical and empirical issues that should be addressed in further research.