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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2008): Social security - overseas

Changing minds: cognitive systems and strategic change in contention over workfare in New York City

J. Krinsky

Social Movement Studies, vol.7, 2008, p. 1-29

This paper constructs and illustrates a model of cognitive change with reference to a case study of opposition to workfare in New York City, where the legal and political construction of workfare workers has been marked by considerable ambiguity. In tracing ways in which activists changed their minds about strategy and definitions, the paper integrates environmental, cognitive and relational dynamics in explanations of political contention to advance a non-individualistic, broadly materialist and pragmatist theory of cognitive development.

'Do you feel excluded?' The subjective experience of young state benefit recipients in Germany

S. Popp and B. Schels

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 11, 2008, p. 165-191

This article examines the connection between multiple deprivation and the subjective experience of social exclusion among young German state benefit recipients in 2005 based on the survey 'Life Circumstances and Social Security'. Overall, a high proportion of young claimants experienced deprivation in several aspects of their lives but only a few of them felt socially excluded. The analysis demonstrates that subjective experience of social exclusion increases when individuals experience multiple deprivations, but is buffered by family integration.

From 'welfare without work' to 'buttressed liberalization': the shifting dynamics of labor market adjustment in France and Germany

M.I. Vail

European Journal of Political Research, vol. 47, 2008, p. 334-358

During the past twenty years, France and Germany have been confronted with stubbornly high rates of unemployment generated in part by social protection arrangements that impede job growth. Critics portray France and Germany as being caught in a vicious circle of high non-wage labour costs deriving from payroll -tax-based financing of social benefits leading to low job growth and high unemployment. Scholars blame this problem on dysfunctional political arrangements, deep insider-outsider cleavages and failed systems of social partnership. The author contests this conventional wisdom and argues that French and German approaches to labour market policy have undergone a paradigmatic shift in the last decade that has led to significant progress in resolving the unemployment traps plaguing the two countries' labour markets. In both countries many of the controls on labour market activity, such as protections against layoffs and limits on overtime, have been loosened and non-standard employment arrangements such as part-time working have been promoted. At the same time authorities have dedicated significant resources to job creation and supporting workers' ability to compete in the labour market.

Unemployment benefits and parental resources: what helps the young unemployed with labour market integration?

M. Jacob

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 11, 2008, p. 147-163

This research examined the post-unemployment job tenure of young people in Germany, with particular emphasis on the effects of unemployment benefit and parental financial support. Analysis of data from a longitudinal study of youth unemployment in Germany shows that subsequent job duration increases with receipt of unemployment benefit but decreases with parental financial support. In Germany, people are required to have stayed in a job for a certain length of time to be eligible for benefit in the event of a subsequent spell of unemployment. These rules lead to more stable job placements. However, the availability of parental support appears to make it easier for young people to quit jobs.

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