In this article, we propose a method for the disaggregation of welfare state regimes that enhances our insight into innovative welfare state change; that is, change beyond the borders of regime logic. Welfare states, we argue, are composed of different approaches to various social risks, and the approach to each social risk is often ‘hybrid’: it consists of various types of arrangements. It is no coincidence that risk approaches, and consequently welfare states, are often hybrid entities. We argue that a singular approach to a social risk creates a social residue that may evoke social pressure which can in turn be diminished by hybridizing the arrangement; that is, changing allocation rules to include new social groups or to cover previously uncovered needs. In itself, however, a hybrid arrangement is unstable. This is why hybridization may be followed by either a return to a singular risk approach so that social pressure re-emerges, or by the establishment of a new, additional arrangement so that a hybrid risk approach emerges. This is innovative change. We do not argue that innovative change inevitably occurs. Change requires that groups facing residues are able to employ sufficient power resources. However, some level of autonomous institutional welfare state change is to be expected as an outcome of the continuous creation of residues.
- welfare state
- institutional change