Liberal welfare regimes
"Liberal" in terms of economic philosophy, enshrining the market's ability to provide social services and minimizing the state's role to a back-up provider.  
Views the labor market as the main mechanism for distributing income (the primary means for securing welfare), and the individual as the primary recipient of social welfare
Exemplified by the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


Social democratic welfare regimes
Takes welfare provision out of the market and makes it the responsibility of the state, which is charged with guaranteeing the resources and motivations its citizens need to work.
Emphasizes a universal system of entitlements; thus, citizens of all economic and social categories are eligible for the same pensions, services, benefits and protections.
Exemplified by Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.


Conservative welfare regimes
Reflects culturally conservative influences: as Catholic/Confucian social teachings, Christian Democratic parties, or the nation-state's origins as an authoritarian governments or monarchy.
Gives a large role to dominant corporatist bodies, so that the benefits and insurance that the state provides (the private sector generally plays a smaller role) are negotiated and hoarded by occupational groups like industrial workers and civil servants .
Endorses a policy of familialism, viewing the family as the normative caregiver and distributes welfare benefits through the stably employed single-breadwinner (i.e., father).
Exemplified by Continental Europe and Japan.


Sources: Gøsta Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism ( Princeton University Press, 1990); Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers, Families That Work (Russell Sage Foundation, 2003).


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