International Journal of Social Welfare. Volume 2022 (Early View). pp 1-15.

Here we make an original, empirical contribution to debates on welfare pluralism, the mixed economies of welfare and territorial rescaling by comparing civil society approaches to tackling youth unemployment in England, Scotland and Wales. Our core finding is that academic and policy literature’s frequent characterisation of the UK as a single Liberal welfare regime is based on methodological nationalism privileging state-wide analyses. In short, a scalar fallacy pervasive in international welfare studies. In the context of the global rise of meso-government and so-called ‘stateless nations’ pressing for greater autonomy, our case-study challenges the dominant paradigm. Our analysis shows the liberal characteristics of work-first policy orientation and marketised civil society are concentrated in England then tempered by devolved (social) policy. Based on contrasting, left-of-centre and civic nationalist governing traditions, grounded in multi-level electoral politics, we show the devolved nations taking a different approach to Westminster, partially eschewing the market and incorporating collectivism and co-production.