It is well known that welfare states ensure a certain level of social protection affecting levels of well-being and the extent of inequalities in society. Changes within crucial domains of social policy, such as education, health, or social protection, have, therefore, a major effect upon individuals’ opportunities. In this article I compare the effects of these changes in two countries from the mid-1980s to the financial crisis of 2008. Portugal that was a latecomer in welfare state development and Denmark was at the forefront of de-commodification and universalization of social rights. The conclusion of this article is that income inequality has been steadily increasing in Danish society; while in Portugal, despite improvements in many social domains (healthcare, poverty alleviation, unemployment protection), problems of inequality remain deeply embedded in the country’s social and institutional structures.
- Welfare state regimes
- Welfare state outcomes