The modern welfare state is being criticized from different angles these years. Mik-Meyer’s book tries to spark a constructive debate that departs in an empirical analysis of key dilemmas in present day welfare states. She shows the dynamics and structures that underpins it and uses this knowledge to suggest how to qualify the discussions about the welfare state. Mik-Meyer presents three rationales that are essential for understanding and discussing the welfare state. They depart in classical models of the bureaucracy, in the logics of the market and in popular psychology. This is an important book for anyone dealing with the public sector and who wants to know more about the internal dynamics in welfare states.