The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course examines social policy and its impact on human services by comparing the variation in the systems that have developed in modern western capitalist democracies. It looks at three distinct approaches - the liberal system (the USA and Anglo countries), the corporatist system (Western Europe) and the social democratic system (Scandinavia) - and explores how Australia draws on each of these models. The course also looks at the way social policy in many other parts of the world is influenced by these competing philosophies, especially the liberal model, as a result of pressure from international agencies.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Summer 2 - 2020.

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): SPSW2003 and SPSW3358. Students who have successfully completed SPSW2003 or SPSW3358 are not eligible to enrol in HUSE3004.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify and communicate the extent to which a particular social policy in a particular country exhibits the characteristics of a liberal, corporatist or social democratic model

2. Compare and evaluate countries adopting the liberal, corporatist and social democratic approach

3. Articulate the extent to which social policies within Australia fit within the liberal, corporatist or social democratic category

4. Critique the advocacy and possible influence of international agencies on one or more developing countries within a particular social policy field


The course will include the following topics:

  • Comparing and evaluating welfare state regimes – philosophy;  expenditure; redistribution -  who benefits and who pays; correlation with wider economic indicators
  • Overview of liberal welfare states (Anglo-American, including Australia)
  • Overview of corporatist welfare states (Western Europe)
  • Overview of social democratic welfare states (Scandinavia)
  • Income support – the unemployed and the ‘precariat’
  • Income support – the aged
  • Health – services
  • Health – who pays?
  • Gender and care of dependants
  • Non-western, post-colonial welfare states? (Asia, Africa)
  • Global inequalities and market-oriented international agencies
  • UN agencies and global social policy
  • Social policy under globalisation – neo-liberal convergence or national resilience?



If you have successfully completed SPSW2003 and SPSW3358 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge


Assessment items

Written Assignment: Understanding of key concepts - 20%

Written Assignment: Application of key concepts and analysis - 40%

Project: Analysis of International Agencies 40%