Did welfare states change radically from welfare towards workfare, or was such a shift absent and was welfare state change regime-specific instead? This article assesses this question for 16 advanced capitalist democracies for the period 1985-2002, using an innovative method: fuzzy-set ideal type analysis. This study shows that the mainstream welfare state literature's prediction of no radical and regime-specific change holds for most countries. The regulation literature's prediction of radical change from welfare towards workfare is supported fully only in Ireland and moderately in Denmark. Furthermore, other interesting patterns are revealed in six countries. © The Policy Press, 2007.