Social Indicators Research

, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 203–224 | Cite as

Measuring Welfare Entitlement Generosity in Transitional Welfare States: The Case of Post-communist Countries in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Kati Kuitto


Measuring welfare state generosity in developing and transitional welfare states is often challenged not only by lack of comparative quantitative data, but also by issues of conceptual stretching. This paper demonstrates and discusses the use of one of the key measures of welfare entitlement generosity developed in the comparative welfare state research in the context of post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). With the new time series data provided by the Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset CWED2, comparative approaches including the CEE countries have become feasible. This paper first discusses quantitative measures of welfare entitlement generosity in the tradition of the social rights of citizenship approach and how they can be applied for cross-country comparisons. It then demonstrates empirically how the emerging CEE welfare states’ generosity compares to mature “old” OECD welfare states. Finally, the paper shows the potential and the pitfalls of quantitative measures of welfare state generosity by discussing, to what extent do indicators of social security scheme generosity measure the same in established and emerging welfare states, which functional equivalents may be relevant in the context of emerging welfare states and how far can we stretch our theoretical concepts.


Welfare state Benefit generosity Decommodification Post-communist countries 



The research presented in this study was supported by a research grant from the German Research Foundation DFG (Grant No. JA638/12-2, “Welfare policies in the enlarged Europe”). I would like to thank the participants of the panel “Measuring Welfare Stateness in Advanced Industrialized Countries and Beyond” at the 22nd International Conference of Europeanists 2015 of the Council of European Studies (CES), Olli Kangas and Lyle Scruggs, in particular, for their helpful comments on a previous version of this paper. All remaining errors are mine.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research DepartmentFinnish Centre for PensionsEläketurvakeskusFinland

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