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

The effects of social and political openness on the welfare state in 18 OECD countries

F. Koster

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 291-300

Most of the theoretical discussions, political debates and empirical research into the relationship between globalisation and the welfare state have focused on the effects of economic openness. This article aims to extend earlier research by looking at the effects of social and political openness. Analysis of a sample of 18 countries over 30 years showed that:

  • welfare states are not affected by differences in social and political openness between countries
  • increasing levels of social openness are negatively associated with the welfare state
  • the welfare state is not affected by changes in political openness

From welfare state to social development: winning the war of words in New Zealand

N. Lunt

Social Policy and Society, vol. 7, 2008, p. 405-418

This paper examines how the welfare state has been displaced by a social development agenda in New Zealand. Since the 1980s New Zealand has experienced continuous reforms of its economic and social welfare system. The welfare settlement of the post-war period was eclipsed with the election of the Fourth Labour Government (1984-90) which began to deregulate the banking and financial system, transport and energy, with associated privatisation and corporatisation. At this period the welfare state and social welfare were increasingly equated with spending on income maintenance and for particular groups. In 1991 the National Government cut the level of welfare benefits with a view to increasing incentives to enter the paid workforce, improving intergenerational equality and bolstering moral responsibility. The Labour government elected in 1999 sought to modernise welfare provision by investing in education and training to develop human capital, investing in children and introducing activation and welfare-to-work policies while supporting the vulnerable.

Institutions promoting gender egalitarian families

Politics and Society, vol. 36, 2008, p. 311-444

This special issue presents a set of articles on the design of public institutions that could create conditions that would facilitate more egalitarian gender relations in caregiving and employment. In order to reconcile in an egalitarian manner the interests of men, women and children in the emerging dual earner/dual caregiver model of the family, three clusters of institutional innovations are needed:

  1. generous paid parental leave for caregiving activities that are allocated to mothers and fathers individually, thus requiring fathers to use or lose their paid parental leave
  2. effective working time regulations that limit full-time work hours
  3. a programme of universal early childhood education and care.

'My state is my father': youth unemployment experiences under the weak state welfare provisions of Turkey

K. Çelik

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 11, 2008, p. 429-460

Due to weak state welfare provision, unemployed young people are heavily dependent on their families. Families provide economic support and shelter, food and health care. The family further contributes by taking an active role in the child's search for work. Family elders inform all relatives, friends and acquaintances about the search for a job and attempt to find work on the child's behalf. This creates a dependency on the family's social resources. This material and social dependency on the family is accompanied by moral dependency on the family's values. This means dependency in terms of what work young women are allowed to do, conceptions of 'good work', whether the child can move to take a job elsewhere, and decisions about getting married and having children. All this means that young people in transition to adulthood learn to be good family members rather than good citizens of the state.

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