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

Targeting social assistance in Azerbaijan: what can we learn from micro-data?

L. Fan and N. Habibov

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 346-354

In Azerbaijan the transition from Communism has led to a deep economic crisis and approximately 23% of the population lives in poverty. Drawing on a micro-data set from a nationally representative household survey, this study quantified the targeting effectiveness of two social assistance programmes. Both of the programmes under investigation suffered from significant under-coverage of the poor. At the same time, a considerable percentage of the non-poor benefited from social assistance. Likewise, the receipt of benefits is rather weakly associated with indicators of household living standards. The evidence demonstrates that neither the categorical targeting approach used by the Privileges Programme nor the income-test approach used for the Child Benefits Programme can ensure effective targeting.

US family-leave policy: the legacy of 'separate spheres'

H.M. Berggren

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 312-323

Family-leave policy in the USA as instituted by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is essentially regulatory, providing work-family supports that are unpaid and otherwise relatively limited in substance and scope. While these defining qualities are commonly seen to be the result of a unique individualistic and state-fearing American culture, the author argues that they stem from past involvement of the government in facilitating a private-sector-led 'precursor' work-family benefits system in the early 20th century. Despite labour market trends to the contrary, this system was underpinned by traditional ideas regarding gender roles and women's place in society.

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