Australia, automation, Canada, climate change, Covid-19, inequality, migration, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States
This chapter discusses contemporary challenges for liberal welfare states. We first describe the key features of the liberal welfare regime from an ideal-type perspective. Then we discuss central developments in liberal welfare states. This over-view is mainly based on aggregate data covering a variety of specific social policy areas as well as data on social expenditure, poverty and inequality. Third, we analyse the extent to which liberal welfare states are prepared to cope with challenges including fiscal pressures due to demographic change, migration, the digitalisation of the labour market, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude by commenting on the questions these challenges raise for liberal welfare states in a post-pandemic context and the likelihood of any policy learning from the pandemic being realised.