Publication type: Research article.
Author(s): Pablo García-García, Luis Buendía, Oscar Carpintero.
Keywords: Energy transition, social welfare
Welfare States are considered key tools to provide just transitions. The hypothesis of synergy states that Social-democratic regimes are in a better position to accomplish them. While synergy has been widely theorised, its empirical verification has remained less studied and provided contradictory results. The weaknesses detected in the state-of-the-art, such as the misalignment of empirical testing and the theoretical drivers of synergy, as well as inconsistencies in the selection of variables and biases imposed by classifications in discrete timings, lead us to define an improved methodological framework. We apply the continuous observation of Ward’s hierarchical clustering in squared Euclidean distances under Thorndike’s criterium to twenty-three European countries between 2008 and 2016 and reject synergy after detecting that Social-democratic regimes display the best social conditions but the worst environmental performances and that society and the environment are not linked. This outcome motivates us to propose a discussion with a focus on the sustainability of economic growth and the opportunities for sustainable welfare scholarship to settle it.