Just Institutions Matter

The Moral and Political Logic of the Universal Welfare State

Just Institutions Matter

In this book Bo Rothstein seeks to defend the universal welfare state against a number of important criticisms that it has faced in recent years. Issues discussed include the relationship between welfare state and civil society, the privatization of social services, and changing values within society. He explains the great variation among contemporary welfare states in terms of differing moral and political logics that have been set in motion by the deliberate choices of political institutions. The book is an important contribution both to philosophical and political debates about the future of the welfare state.


"...Rothstein argues brilliantly and convincingly that what can be done in social welfare policy must be linked to what ought to be done.... Upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

"Bo Rothstein's new book is both a strong defense and an excellent empirical analysis of the universal welfare state....Overall, the book makes the best case for universal social policy I have seen, it is also an insightful analysis of the politics of universal welfare states... this is an excellent book and can be highly recommended to scholars of social welfare policy, Scandinavia, and comparative politics. It is appropriate for advanced courses in the areas of social theory, public policy, and European and comparative politics." Duane Swank, American Journal of Sociology

"Bo Rothstein's, Just Institutions Matter,...is a significant contribution. This book is well worth a thorough read." Sven Steinmo, Governance

"Just Institutions Matter should be a frequently cited work among those interested in comparative politics and policy and the general issue of policy evaluation. Rothstein is eloquent in his argument for universalistic principles to guide social welfare policy, and he is very creative and analytically agile in providing a language and framework for connecting values and policy. " American Political Science Review