I had a review essay in the Australian Financial Review yesterday, looking at a book by Alberto Alesina and Ed Glaeser – Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference. The book sets out to discover why European countries have more generous welfare states than the US. The authors conclude that two factors – voting systems and racial diversity – can explain most of the gap. I then try to answer two questions: How does Australia fit into the argument? And what does this say about the future of welfare systems in an increasingly diverse society?
I’d be grateful for views that readers of this blog had on the piece – though the issues here are sensitive ones, so I’d be grateful if you could plough through my review essay or the book before piling into the debate.