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

Community-based capital cash transfer to support orphans in Western Kenya: a consumer perspective

M. Skovdal and others

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 3, 2008, p.1-15

Various types of 'cash transfer' are currently receiving much attention as a way of helping orphans in Africa. Drawing on a qualitative study conducted in Western Kenya, this paper points to community-based capital cash transfers (CCCT) as a promising method for assisting orphans and their carers in Africa. Qualitative data were obtained from 15 orphans and 26 carers in Bondo District, Kenya who were beneficiaries of a CCCT programme run by a partnership between the community, the central government social services department and a foreign donor. The cash transfer involved a one-off payment to the community which was used to buy 24 oxen, four ploughs, a water pump and pipes, seeds and fertiliser. Findings suggest that the project both increased food availability and social capital.

Differential effects of active labour market programs for the unemployed

B. Sianesi

Labour Economics, vol. 15, 2008, p.370-399

This paper assesses the performance of six different active labour market programmes for the unemployed in Sweden both relative to one another and vis--vis more intense job search. All the programmes were found to initially lock in participants, significantly reducing the likelihood of their gaining employment in the open market. From the point of view of improving long-term employment prospects, job subsidies performed best, followed by trainee replacement schemes. The results for all other programmes were disappointing. In particular, individuals joining labour market training, a work practice scheme or relief work subsequently displayed lower employment rates and a higher probability of claiming unemployment benefit than if they had continued to search for regular jobs.

The governance of activation

R. van Berkel and V. Borghi (editors)

Social Policy and Society, vol. 7, 2008, p. 331-404

Activation refers to social policies aimed at promoting the more or less compulsory participation of unemployment benefit and social assistance claimants in work. This collection of articles explores how the delivery of activation programmes and services is being organised worldwide. The new service provision models discussed include: 1) localisation or decentralisation of services; 2) the introduction of competition between providers, accompanied by a purchaser-contractor split; and 3) interagency cooperation and service integration.

Tightening income documentation in a means-tested program: who stays away?

P. Gleason and others

Evaluation Review, vol. 32, 2008, p. 273-297

Programmes that use means tests to target benefits on children from low-income households must balance competing objectives:

  1. ensuring that children entering the programme are eligible on the basis of family income
  2. maintaining easy access for eligible children
  3. keeping administrative costs of eligibility determination low.

This article examines the trade offs among these objectives in the case of the US National School Lunch Program. The pilot scheme studied in this research sought to combat fraud by requiring households to provide documentary proof of income when applying for free school meals. Results show that the requirement to produce documentary evidence of income did not prevent ineligible children from getting free school meals but did reduce access to the programme for eligible households.

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