• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Human Sciences, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Demography, Political Economy
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Peter Whiteford
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2024
    See Future Offerings

On-campus & remote (online) learning available. Students participate in interactive, real-time classes. 2024 class dates: 15,18,22,25 Mar, 26,29 Apr.

This course aims to provide both a macro view of welfare state debates in Australia and internationally – including Asia and the Pacific, as well as Europe and North America – and also develop skills in undertaking quantitative analysis of selected major policy issues such as the causes of the growth of public spending, measures to control expenditure growth, and how to analyse the effectiveness of welfare state spending, particularly in relation to impacts on income distribution (inequality and income poverty), as well as unintended consequences. Emphasis is on a comparative approach.

Questions to be addressed include: How expensive is the Welfare State? How effective is the Welfare State? Is the Welfare State sustainable? Are social protection programmes transferrable?

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Find and use key sources of data on social security and welfare spending in Australia and internationally, including Asia and the Pacific as well as OECD countries
  2. Understand key conceptual frameworks regarding social spending, as well as frameworks for the analysis of distributional effects of public spending
  3. Demonstrate a knowledge of methodological issues in the analysis of the effects of government welfare state spending on key social outcomes including inequality and poverty
  4. Analyse and assess alternative approaches to social policy interventions
  5. Compare the social protection systems of their own or other countries with those of other rich or developing nations

Indicative Assessment

  1. One data analysis exercise undertaken in class (10% ) (10) [LO 1,2]
  2. Short essay (2000 words) on a contemporary social policy topic (40) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Major Essay (3,500 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including in class time and independent study.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

The main textbook for this course is the Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State (2010) Castles et al. (eds) available online at https://library.anu.edu.au/record=b3063199 or at http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199579396.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199579396 The chapters to be read are identified in Wattle. It is expected that students read the required weekly readings before each session.

Preliminary Reading

Further resources will be identified in the topics section in Wattle, which are usually longer than the required readings.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
On Campus
5534 15 Mar 2024 15 Mar 2024 05 Apr 2024 27 May 2024 In Person View
5535 15 Mar 2024 15 Mar 2024 05 Apr 2024 27 May 2024 Online View

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