This book seeks to counter the recent trend of speculation about the impact of globalization upon welfare states. It begins by asking two related questions: 'What exactly is globalization?' 'How, if at all, has globalization been implicated in recent changes to European welfare states?' The book combines both theoretical and empirical analysis to provide a critical account of the relationship between globalization and change in European welfare states. Firstly the key theoretical and conceptual debates are reviewed and the existing perspectives on globalization and welfare policy change are assessed. The text moves on to explore and challenge the more apocalyptic economic perspectives on globalization and welfare that suggest permanent retrenchment. The discussion includes an outline and assessment of the role of international organisations such as the World Bank and the EU. All the major types of European national welfare system are considered: Bismarkian, Southern, Central and Eastern European, Nordic and Liberal. Individual chapters outline recent welfare policy changes in the European countries of each system, and the role of globalization in such changes. This ground-breaking text provides new empirical and theoretical perspectives on links between globalization and European welfare state change. It will be important reading for students and academics in the fields of social policy, politics, international relations, European studies and related fields.