Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Welfare state - overseas

Civic labour or doulia? Care, reciprocity and welfare

A. Deacon

Social Policy and Society, vol.6, 2007, p. 481-490

This article investigates the extent to which citizens who provide informal care for dependent adults and children can be held to warrant public support through welfare. The author discusses two answers to this question. The first is Stuart White's argument that care work should be viewed as 'civic labour', that is labour which provides a significant service for, or on behalf of, the wider community. Carers, according to White, are entitled to claim support on the grounds of their contribution to the public good, but their entitlement is conditional upon the satisfactory performance of their civic labour. A second answer is provided by Eva Feder Kittay's principle of doulia. Kittay holds that the carer who meets the needs of dependents is necessarily rendered less able to attend to his/her own needs. This creates an obligation on the wider community to provide the support that he/she needs to thrive. This support should be understood as a form of compensation for the costs born by the carer, and so should take the form of an unconditional entitlement.

The continuing legacy of the Communist legacy? The development of family policies in Poland and the Czech Republic

S. Saxonberg and D. Szelewa

Social Politics, vol. 14, 2007, p. 351-379

This article compares the development of family policies in two post-Communist countries, Poland and the Czech Republic and investigates why they have followed different paths. The former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe have generally promoted policies that encourage women with children to remain at home. This trend towards refamilialisation can be partly explained by the anti-feminist ideological legacy that emerged from the Communist era, but it is a country's economic-institutional legacy that goes the farthest in explaining differences in policies.

Defamilisation and welfare state regimes: a cluster analysis

C. Bambra

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 16, 2007, p. 326-338

The concept of defamilialisation is often defined as the extent to which individual adults can uphold a socially acceptable standard of living, independently of family relationships, either through paid work or through social security provision. Defamilialisation can therefore be used as a way of testing the extent to which welfare states facilitate female autonomy and economic independence from the family. However, flaws in the methodology used, or the understanding of the concept, limit the usefulness of existing defamilialisation typologies. This article uses cluster analysis to build on previous research and resurrect the concept of defamilialisation. The analysis produces a five-fold typology of welfare state regimes, which differs in many ways from existing classifications.

Financing social and cohesion policy in an enlarged EU: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

A. Kay and R. Ackrill

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 17, 2007, p. 361-374

In February 2004, the European Commission presented proposals for a new Financial Perspective for the period 2007-13 which sought to restructure EU spending. The Commission proposed large aggregate increases in expenditures on social and cohesion policies along with a substantial redistribution of funds in favour of new member states. This article describes the negotiation which resulted in the neutralisation of these ambitious plans. Spending plans for social and cohesion policies were scaled back, total spending was reduced, and much of the remaining money was directed back to the richer eligible member states.

From public to private maternalism? Gender and welfare in Poland and Hungary after 1989

C. Glass and E. Fodor

Social Politics, vol.14, 2007, p. 323-350

This study compares post-socialist family policy formation in Hungary and Poland, focusing on ways in which emergent family, maternity and childcare policies are restructuring gender relations. Despite similar pressures and constraints, emerging welfare provision in Hungary and Poland varies in terms of generosity, eligibility criteria and the targeting of benefits. While Hungary has pursued a form of 'public maternalism', where benefits are provided to families by the state, Poland has pursued a form of 'private maternalism', in which the market and the family have become the primary institutions of welfare provision. In spite of these differences, both types of maternalism have had similar negative consequences for women's labour force participation.

Industrial relations and the welfare state in Italy: assessing the potential of negotiated change

O. Molina and M. Rhodes

West European Politics, vol. 30, 2007, p. 803-829

After years of institutional stasis, Italy's policy landscape was shaken in the 1990s by a series of reforms of collective bargaining, employment regulation and the pensions system negotiated via social pacts between unions, employers and the state. Collective bargaining was decentralised and the highly rigid labour market became more flexible. Italy's accession to EMU (European Monetary Union) acted as a catalyst for reform. However, once Italy had joined EMU in 1998 the impetus for reform weakened, consensus between the social partners broke down, and contestation of the collective bargaining system and labour market regulation reappeared.

Managerial and political accountability: the widening gap in the organization of welfare

P. Mattei

International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 73, 2007, p. 365-387

This article considers how it is possible to reconcile the freedoms granted to managers to run autonomous welfare delivery institutions, such as schools and hospitals, with the political imperative of asserting democratic control of decision-making processes. By empirically investigating the effects of the introduction of managerialism on democratic accountability in the case of state schools and hospitals in Britain and Germany, it aims to further understanding of the link between the managerial and political dimensions of accountability in the welfare state.

Reform of the employment and welfare administrations: the challenges of co-coordinating [sic] diverse public organizations

T. Christensen, A.L. Fimreite and P. Laegreid

International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 73, 2007, p. 389-408

This article analyses one of the most comprehensive structural reforms in recent Norwegian administrative history: the merger of the employment and national insurance administrations, combined with more formal collaboration with the local government social services administration. As of 2006 the former National Insurance Administration and the Directorate of Labour in Norway were merged into a single central agency for employment and welfare (NAV). Locally NAV is establishing a one-stop-shop system with the social services administration. This front line service is supposed to be run as a central-local partnership regulated by local agreements. Central government does not, however, assume local government responsibilities or vice versa. The reform is therefore also an important component of multi-level governance.

Social policy in the European Union. 3rd ed.

L. Hantrais

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

Social policy is constantly evolving in the European Union and is closely intertwined with other EU policy areas. Since the publication of the second edition of this text, we have seen the enlargement of the union to the east and increased debate about how to adapt its institutional structures to reflect its extended membership. This edition takes account of these debates, as well as debates about the constitution, the need for more open European governance, and citizenship rights. It offers a compact and clear account of social policy formation and implementation across the European Union.

Social workers' attitudes towards social welfare policy

I. Weiss-Gal and J. Gal

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 16, 2007, p. 349-357

Social workers are widely called upon to take an active role in influencing social welfare policy. However, very little is known about social workers' views on the welfare state. This study aims to fill this gap by examining Israeli social workers' attitudes towards various aspects of social welfare. Findings indicate that support for the welfare state among Israeli social workers is lukewarm. They tend to support higher spending on services, such as pensions, health and education, which would benefit them as middle class professionals. They are indifferent to increasing benefits targeted on the poor, such as housing subsidies or unemployment pay.

Transposition of EU social policy in Poland: are there different 'worlds of compliance' in East and West?

S. Leiber

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 17, 2007, p. 349-360

There is evidence that the 15 European Union member states in Western Europe have varied in the extent to which they have implemented social policy directives. Some countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland, highly value compliance with EU law; a number of others, including Spain, the UK and Germany, implement laws which do not conflict with national government priorities; a third group, which includes France, Italy and Portugal, routinely fails to comply, partly due to administrative inertia. This article compares the implementation of six EU social policy directives in Poland and in the EU-15. It analyses the size of adaptation requirements of EU social policy for Poland, as well as the Polish transposition performance. Results show that the misfit in Poland was smaller than in a number of EU-15 member states. At the level of legal transposition Poland performed very well, possibly due to EU monitoring.

Transposition of EU social policy in the new member states

D. Toshkov

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 17, 2007, p.335-348

This article presents an empirical analysis of several hypotheses about the influence of political and administrative factors on the transposition and implementation of European Union social policy legislation in the new member states in central and Eastern Europe. Based on the analysis of a new dataset, the study concludes that the strength of support for European integration of the governing parties at the national level and government effectiveness both have strong positive effects on implementation of EU social policy. No evidence was found suggesting any influence of party ideology.

Turkey, the EU and social policy

N. Manning

Social Policy and Society, vol. 6, 2007, p. 491-501

This paper considers the likely impact of EU accession on social policy in Turkey, based on a review of the experiences of other new member states and candidate countries. It points out that the motives of the EU for taking on new member states may be at odds with the hopes of the candidates themselves, so that it is unclear what kind of social policies are expected. Furthermore, the attitudes and priorities of elites and civil society may be in conflict, so that the new member state may not be able to fulfil expectations. EU action is now moving away from funding support towards regulation, so that social policy may be more a matter of setting up formal structures than developing actual services. This is related to the fact that new members are further and further away from the traditional European heartland, leading to the development of a sense of EU core and periphery.

Welfare state regimes and family policy: a longitudinal analysis

J. Guo and N. Gilbert

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.16, 2007, p. 307-313

De-commodification represents the extent to which social welfare policies allow individuals and families to uphold a socially acceptable standard of living regardless of their performance in the labour market. De-familialisation is defined as the extent to which individual adults can uphold a socially acceptable standard of living, independently of family relationships, either through paid work or through social security provision. Using data from the OECD Social Expenditure database (1980-2001), the authors find that the degree of de-familialisation through welfare state regimes parallels the de-commodification scores. However the findings also show a degree of instability in the relationship between levels of support for family policy and welfare state regimes over the past decades.

Welfare state transformation, childcare and women's work in Russia

T. Teplova

Social Politics, vol. 14, 2007, p. 284-322

This paper analyses the transformation of the Russian welfare state through the prism of formal child care provision in three distinct categories: time-off work (maternity and parental leave); money (child benefits and in-home care giving allowances); and services (places in nurseries and kindergartens). In the post-Soviet era the state abandoned its commitment to employment for all, including women, and this led to a reduction in childcare facilities. Instead, the state encouraged women to stay at home and look after their own children. However, despite Russia's neofamilialist policies, the majority of women of childbearing age, even those with small children, are still in the labour force.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web