Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2000): Social Security - Overseas

DO MEANS-TESTED BENEFITS ALLEVIATE POVERTY? EVIDENCE ON GERMAY, SWEDEN AND THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM THE LUXEMBOURG INCOME STUDY

C. Behrendt

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 10, 2000, p. 23-41

Article uses the household data of the Luxembourg Income Study to explore the effectiveness of means-tested programmes in terms of poverty alleviation in Britain, Germany and Sweden in the early 1990s. Results show a considerable variation in the degree means-tested benefits can actually protect people from poverty. There is considerable cross-national variation in the impact of means-tested benefits, with specific patterns of poverty alleviation in each country.

THE DURATION OF SPELLS ON WELFARE AND OFF WELFARE AMONG LONE MOTHERS IN ONTARIO

J. Stewart and M. D. Dooley

Canadian Public Policy, vol. 25, 1999, Supplement no. 1, p. 47-72

Paper provides a first look at the dynamics of social assistance use among lone mothers in Ontario. Uses an administrative data set to analyse the relationship between the duration of spells on and off welfare and a series of factors including the clients' personal characteristics, their history of welfare use, the duration of current spells, labour market conditions and benefit levels. Findings show mixed evidence for the existence of a welfare trap. There is evidence that the likelihood of existing welfare declines during the first year of a spell. There is more consistent evidence that staying off the rolls has the beneficial effect of making recidivism less likely. The length of both welfare and off-welfare spells is very sensitive and off-welfare spells is very sensitive to benefit levels. Finally, clients who have spent more months on welfare in the past are the most likely to make a quick return.

THE EFFECT OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS ON INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE CANADIAN PROVINCES

G. J. Countryman

Canadian Public Policy, vol. 25, 1999, p. 539-561

Paper examines the immediate impact that unemployment insurance benefits have on family income inequality in the Canadian provinces and at the national level. Paper also provides a measure of the welfare gain from the reduction in inequality resulting from UI benefits. This will provide policy makers with a means to compare the efficiency costs of UI with the equality enhancing effects of the programme.

FROM WELFARE CHECK TO PAYCHECK: CREATING A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT

L. Pavetti and N. Wemmerus

Journal of Labor Research, vol. 20, 1999, p. 517-537

Presents a case study of the implementation and outcomes of a welfare to work programme in Virginia. There are four key elements in Virginia's workfare programme:

  • Work activities are mandatory;
  • independent job search initially is expected of all programme participants;
  • community work experience is readily available for clients unable to find a job;
  • education and training can be combined with employment or community work, but this is seldom done.

The programme places time limits on assistance, imposes sanctions to ensure compliance and includes policies that make work a better option than welfare.

THE INTERACTION OF UI AND WELFARE, AND THE DYNAMICS OF WELFARE PARTICIPATION OF SINGLE PARENTS

B. Fortin, G. Lacroix and J. F. Thibault

Canadian Public Poliy, vol. 25, 1999, Supplement no. 1, p. 115-132

Results of a study of the welfare records of 11,180 single parent households in Quebec show that tightening the conditions of eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) causes a reduction in exists from welfare, and an increase in re-entries. Similarly, a cut in the UI replacement rate raises the rate of re-entry into welfare.

LOCATIONAL EFFECTS ON AFDC EXITS: EXAMINING LOCAL LABOR MARKETS

T. P. Vartanian

Journal of Socio-economics, vol. 28, 1999, p. 607-631

Article examines the effects of economic conditions and residential location on a welfare recipient's likelihood of leaving welfare over time. Analysis uses linked files from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the 1970 and 1980 US censuses, and County and City databook data from 1972 to 1994 to determine AFDC exit probabilities. Results show that negative economic conditions and poor transportation within cities impede lower skilled AFDC recipients from increasing earnings and leaving welfare.

A NEW SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM CONSESUS? THE ISSA'S STOCKHOLM INITIATIVE

K. G. Scherman

International Social Security Review, vol. 53, 2000, p. 65-82

A broad consensus has emerged among specialists about the need to balance social goals and macro economic requirements when designing and implementing reforms. Social Security has contributed to the development of market economics, to the prosperity of populations and to social cohesion. This will remain its role in the third millennium, and research should contribute to the search for reform strategies to enable social security to fulfil its mission.

WELFARE TO WORK: THE LOCAL DIMENSION

D. Finn

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 10, 2000, p. 43-57

Describes the implementation of welfare to work strategies in Britain, the US and the Netherlands. Evidence suggests that the best results can be obtained if policymakers maintain a flexible mix of programmes that can be adjusted to suit local and regional circumstances, particular client groups and the various stages of the economic cycle.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web