Every developed country has a distinctive welfare state of its own. Welfare states generally rely on the same basic institutions, but these institutions can operate in different ways. Welfare state programmes are government programmes, but while public authority is necessary to establish, fund, and regulate these programmes, the nature of government involvement varies. Three worlds of welfare have been identified: social democratic; conservative; and liberal. ‘Varieties’ describes the welfare state regimes that developed in Sweden, Germany, and the USA, each of which exemplifies one of these ‘worlds’ of welfare. It goes on to consider briefly the welfare regimes beyond the ‘three worlds’ and how Britain’s welfare regime has changed over time.