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Does India have Subnational Welfare Regimes? The Role of State Governments in Shaping Social Policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Issue number1
Accepted/In press18 Mar 2021
Published18 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Does India have Subnational Welfare Regimes_AAM

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    Uploaded date:15 Jun 2021

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


This article asks whether state governments in India had developed sufficient autonomy during the era of multi-party fragmentation (1989–2014) to determine and implement their own distinctive policy agendas in the field of social policy. It uses cluster analysis to look for variation in the welfare regimes of state governments within India’s federal system. Employing the metrics of (de)commodification and defamilialization commonly used in the comparative cross-national literature on welfare regimes to assess the extent to which public welfare provision reduces dependence on market forces and family structures, the paper finds that India’s states cluster in ways that suggest the existence of distinctive subnational welfare regimes rather than straightforward variation within a national welfare regime. The analysis challenges the national-level bias inherent in previous studies of comparative welfare regimes and offers insights into the operation of regional autonomy within the domain of social policy in India’s federal system.

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