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ISSN 2071-789X

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  • General Founder and Publisher:

    Centre of Sociological Research


  • Publishing Partners:

    University of Szczecin (Poland)

    Széchenyi István University, (Hungary)

    Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)

    Alexander Dubcek University of Trencín (Slovak Republic)

  • Membership:

    American Sociological Association

    European Sociological Association

    World Economics Association (WEA)




Implementation of the welfare state in the Visegrád countries

Vol. 8, No 2, 2015

Helena Tendera-Właszczuk,


European Economic Integration Department,

Faculty of Economics and International Relations,

Cracow University of Economic, Cracow, Poland,



Michał Szymański,


Faculty of Economics and International Relations,

Cracow University of Economic, Cracow, Poland,



ABSTRACT. This paper aims to match the Visegrád countries which joined the European Union in 2004 and are usually analysed as a separate group of their own (often referred to as the “catching-up countries”) with the welfare models functioning in Western Europe. The empirical part includes an analysis of the practical functioning of the welfare state in the Visegrád countries against the broader background of the EU-15. The working hypothesis is that the models differ in terms of the effectiveness and justice of embraced solutions, as well as the influence of public spending on the quality of life and reduction of poverty.

Our analysis shows that one can classify Czech Republic as a country of the Nordic model, Hungary and Slovakia as Continental and Poland as Mediterranean. The Nordic system performs the best among all the welfare state models in terms of the principal assessment criteria that include the labour market situation, as well as the reduction of poverty and social inequalities. However, their policies have not been very cost-effective; public spending exceeds 30% of the GDP, and the global crisis has increased it even further. The example of Anglo-Saxon Ireland shows that public expenditure can be used more effectively to fight poverty; Ireland has managed to reduce poverty by almost as much as Sweden, Finland, or Denmark, but at a much lower cost.

In the analysis, the Visegrád countries, the Czech Republic (the Nordic model) and Slovakia (the continental model) in particular, achieve satisfactory results across all indicators.









Received: March, 2015

1st Revision: June, 2015 Accepted: July, 2015  

DOI:10.14254/2071- 789X.2015/8-2/10

JEL Classification: E24, I31, I38, J21

Keywords: welfare  states,  the  European  Social  Model  (ESM), Visegrád countries, labour market, reduction of poverty