This book introduces readers to the world of ideal types within the readings of Max Weber by giving a theoretical understanding of ideal types, as well as applying the development of ideal types to an array of social policy arenas.

The 21st century has seen the development of welfare regime analysis marked by two differing strands: real-typical welfare regime analyses and ideal-typical welfare regime analysis; the latter focusing on the formation, development, and application of ideal types in general comparative social policy. Designed to provide new theoretical and practical frameworks, as well as updated in-depth developments of ideal-typical welfare regime theory, this book shows how Weber’s method of setting up and checking against ‘ideal types’ can be used in a wide variety of policy areas, such as welfare state system comparison, comparative social and economic development, health policy, mental health policy, health care system analysis, gender policy, employment policy, education policy, and so forth.

The book will be of interest to all scholars and students working in the fields of social policy, including health policy, public policy, political economy, sociology, social work, gender studies, social anthropology, and many more.

part I|14 pages


chapter 1|12 pages


Ideal types and the law of social and cultural entropy

part II|90 pages

Comparative theory and background

chapter 5|15 pages

Back to the origins

The ideal-type methodology in social sciences as developed by Max Weber

part III|146 pages

Applying ideal types in comparative theory and methodology

chapter 6|62 pages

Ten worlds of welfare regimes

Applying ideal-typical welfare regimes in welfare state system comparison

chapter 7|18 pages

From ideal types to health care system typologies

Dimensions, labels, and country classifications

chapter 9|20 pages

Applying ideal types in employment policy comparison

The example of employer services

part IV|22 pages

Concluding Part

chapter 11|16 pages

From descriptive to normative comparative social policy

By way of conclusion

chapter |4 pages