Christian democracy has been the most successful political movement in post-war Western Europe yet its crucial impact on the development of the modern European welfare state has been critically neglected. In this study Kees van Kersbergen demonstrates the precise nature of the links between Christian Democracy and the welfare state. Using a variety of sources the author describes the origin and development of the christian democratic movement and presents comparative accounts of the varying degrees of political entrenchment of national christian democratic parties. Drawing upon cross-national indicators of welfare state development he identifies and explains the existence of a distinctively christian democratic (as opposed to a liberal or social democratic) welfare state regime which he labels "social capitalism."

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