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

Counter-reform in the American welfare state: ideas, institutions and progressive taxation

A. Alexander and K. Jacobsen

New Political Science, vol. 30, 2008, p.285-306

This article examines tax reforms in the 1970s when redistributive aims and mild dirigiste policies featured in Democratic party platforms. It explores why these fell out of favour. After Nixon's landslide victory in the presidential election and the 1973 oil embargo, Democratic Party leaders edged away from redistributive commitments until many conceded ground to the market idealist creed of the Ford White House. A bipartisan orthodoxy was affirmed when 1976 Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter stated that 'government cannot solve our problems'. A steady capitulation to conservative policy remedies to severe fiscal problems allowed an unprecedented upward redistribution of income and wealth through the rest of the century and beyond.

Culture and welfare state: values and social policy in comparative perspective

W. van Oorschot, M. Opielka, B. Pfau-Effinger (editors)

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2008

The book provides comparative studies in the interplay between cultural factors and welfare policies. Starting with an analysis of the historical and cultural foundations of Western European welfare states, reflected in the competing ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism, the book goes on to compare the Western European welfare model to those in North America, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. It examines not only the relationships between cultural change and welfare restructuring, taking empirical evidence from policy reforms in contemporary Europe, but also the popular legitimacy of welfare, focusing particularly on the underlying values, beliefs and attitudes of people in European countries.

EU integration and the transformation of post-Communist welfare: traversing a 'quantum leap'?

N. Lendvai

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 504-523

All parts of Europe are in a long-term project of recasting economic and social policies to make them more responsive to the new demands of post-industrialism. Post-Communist Europe, however, is facing these challenges without have experienced Keynesian post-war welfare state development. Instead, they have experienced 15-years of market- and state-building, weak social citizenship, and imbalanced, distorted labour-capital relations. These welfare states leap from post-communism to post-industrialism, without experiencing the stage of a Keynesian welfare state offering consensus on social and economic development. This article explores the role of the EU in this transformation. It argues that the EU promotes a specific model of post-industrial transformation of social and economic policies in Eastern Europe.

Evaluation of welfare policies, reforms and services

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 31, 2008, p. 1139-1402

This special issue is in three parts, covering:

  • a theoretical-methodological view of the evaluation of welfare systems
  • evaluation of welfare reforms and policies (including governance of the welfare state in Finland and reform of social services in Italy)
  • evaluation of welfare services (including quality of service in the English NHS, US welfare-to-work programmes, and the merger of two healthcare organisations in Finland)

The gender dimension of social policy reform in Turkey: towards equal citizenship

A. KiliÁ

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 487-503

In April 2006 an important law was passed in Turkey which provided for a structural transformation of existing social insurance schemes and the healthcare system. However in December 2006, just before the law came into force, some of its provisions were annulled by the Constitutional Court. The government then postponed implementation until 2008. The reforms reflect a change in the perception of women's role in society. Previously, women were regarded as in need of male protection and provided with special benefits as dependants of their insured family members. However the reforms both terminate some of the benefits women used to enjoy, and extend others to men as well. While removing the stigma of dependence, these changes seem set to increase the vulnerability of the majority of women.

Neither hybrid nor unique: a reinterpretation of the East Asian welfare regime

K.-Z. Hong

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 2, 2008, p. 159-180

Some scholars have understood East Asian welfare regimes as being a unique phenomenon that cannot be explained by existing welfare state theories, while others have explained them as being an embryonic stage of established models. Neither approach is useful. East Asian welfare regimes cannot be explained by theories developed to analyse European welfare states. This article takes a different approach. It tries to combine deductive causal modelling with an institutional-historical context by identifying the contingent rent political game model and deducing important characteristics of the East Asian welfare regime from this model.

Veto players in welfare state change: what delays social entitlement bills?

T. Dšubler

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 37, 2008, p. 683-706

Many changes with regard to social entitlements are legislated in Parliaments. Therefore a focus on legislative processes allows us to study the mechanisms of welfare state change. This article analyses the influence of veto players on social entitlement legislation at the level of the individual bill. It asks three questions about the outcomes of the legislative process at the parliamentary stage:

  • Does the number of government parties or the ideological differences between them affect the passage of bills?
  • Under what circumstances do second chambers exert influence?
  • Does the ideological position of the most leftwing governing party affect the speed of passage of bills in policy areas where there is pressure for retrenchment?
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