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This handbook provides an in-depth presentation of welfare states. It explains the key concepts, theories, different understanding around the world of what welfare states are, central elements in welfare states systems and their way of functioning. The Routledge Handbook of Welfare State present the diversities while pointing to systemic change and development that might imply a trend towards convergence. More than 50 international experts will combine classical welfare analysis with new approaches to the subject.This will produce the most current reference work to date, providing the knowledge needed to understand the complexities of contemporary welfare.