Congratulations to Nathalie Morel

Congratulations to Nathalie Morel

on her accreditation to supervise research
  • Nathalie Morel © Aurore Papegay / Sciences PoNathalie Morel © Aurore Papegay / Sciences Po

Nathalie Morel, Assistant Professor at Sciences Po, member of the CEE and LIEPP, earned her accreditation to supervise research in political sciences on January 31st, 2023. She defended her habilitation thesis entitled “The politics of fiscal welfare: towards a social division of welfare and labour in France and Sweden”.

The jury was composed of:

  • Philippe Bezes, CNRS Research Professor, Sciences Po, CEE
  • Nicolas Duvoux, Professor, Université Paris 8
  • Olivier Giraud, CNRS Research Professor, CNAM, Lise
  • Kimberly Morgan, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Marta Szebehely, Professor Emerita, Stockholm University


The privatisation or marketisation of welfare, the polarisation and dualisation of labour markets and the increase in social inequalities are three themes that have featured prominently in recent welfare state research, although most often as separate research endeavours. ‘Neo-liberalism’, as a kind of catch-all concept, has often been put forward as the analytical lens through which to understand these trends. While these trends have manifested themselves earlier and with greater force in the Liberal welfare states, labour market polarisation and dualisation, along with elements of transformation and privatisation of the welfare state have, however, come to the fore in the other welfare regimes also. This work proposes to cast a new light on these processes in two non-Liberal welfare states by tracing the role of a specific instrument, that of fiscal welfare - an approach which has remained a blind spot in the welfare state literature.

Fiscal welfare refers to a specific type of state intervention through the use of the tax system for social protection or employment purposes. As a policy instrument, it has traditionally been associated to Liberal welfare regimes. The more recent introduction of fiscal welfare policies in other types of welfare regimes raises the issue of the uses and effects of such an instrument in these other settings: How is it mobilised? By whom? For what purpose? How does it interact with the traditional public policy repertoire of non-Liberal welfare regimes? With what consequences? This work addresses these questions by focusing on two contrasted welfare states, namely France and Sweden, where the use of fiscal welfare has been growing.

The particular example of the introduction of a similar tax deduction on domiciliary care and household services in both countries is used to bring to light and illustrate the issues raised by the use of fiscal welfare, understood as a specific policy instrument, and to highlight the ways in which fiscal welfare can be used as an analytical lens to observe and understand the interrelated mechanisms behind the polarization of social structures that is taking place in these two countries with respect to both the labour market and welfare provision. The cross-country comparison further helps address the question of the specific properties of the fiscal welfare instrument and its policy feedback effects.

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