This article analyses the contrasted dialogue between welfare state and education studies. The aim is first to shed light on the traditional cleavage between the two, based on the trade-off between the policy areas under scrutiny; while then addressing the more recent attempts to better integrate the two literatures (through the hypothesis of a fruitful interaction between welfare and education). The article is divided in three sections. The first is focused on the historical origin of the separation between the two literatures. The second section analyses the different typologies. The third section focuses on those approaches promoting the integration of education and welfare: «Varieties of capitalism», «Social investment», «Active welfare», «Capabilities». The article ends with some critical reflections on these analytical prospects.