This paper applies the categorization of welfare state systems set out by Esping-Andersen in 1990 to the welfare state in Egypt. It analyzes the relationships between state, market, and society over the 10 years from 1995 to 2005, which were marked by a shift to a market economy and a confrontation with the historical legacy of the state’s social role. The best description for the current welfare state in Egypt is “conservative/unorganized” in that social security entitlements are limited to work in the formal sector, which makes the family, religious institutions, and patronage networks take on important roles in meeting the social needs of the large informal sector. Additionally, the study proposes some modifications to the Esping-Andersen categorization with the aim of understanding welfare programs in developing countries. When analyzing welfare systems in general, particularly in the developing countries, it is necessary to take into account methodologically aspects of mismanagement, considerations of quality, the gap between stated aims and their implementation, the disparity resulting from differences between countryside and city and between the sexes, and the role of the informal sector.