When I was told of the plan to bring out a special issue of the Journal of European Social Policy to revisit my Three Worlds on its 25th birthday, I felt more honoured than at any other moment in my life. But then elation gave place to panic: what meaningful contribution could I possibly deliver? Re-examine my regime classification in light of 25 years of change? Defend myself against its many critics? Such options seemed utterly boring to me and then, one day, I saw the light: here was my great opportunity to attack the one great question that I never really managed to address in any serious way.
The Three Worlds had two broad aims. The first was to identify the causes behind welfare state diversity; the second, to identify whether this diversity had any influential effect on the quality of citizens’ life chances. Examining the employment effects of distinct welfare state models, I claimed (at the end of Chapter 8) that they were the midwives of qualitatively different ‘post-industrial’ stratification scenarios. On hindsight, these claims appear rather grandiose considering the paucity of relevant data I managed to marshal.1 So I shall exploit the unique opportunity that this issue of Journal of European Social Policy (JESP) grants me to revisit the stratification question once again
– Journal of European Social Policy