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

Comparing welfare service delivery among public, non-profit and for-profit work agencies

N.M. Riccucci and M.K. Meyers

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 31, 2008, p. 1441-1454

The passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996 has led to an explosion in contracting out welfare and employment services. The services most commonly contracted out include training, education, job placement and support services to promote job entry or retention. Research has produced conflicting evidence on the comparative performance of public and at least non-profit organizations providing employment services. This article seeks to determine if there are differences in worker attitudes to clients across public, non-profit and for-profit organizations. Such research bears on the issue of whether social needs of vulnerable populations can be met through competitive outsourcing of services.

The employment impacts of active labour market policy: the case of SSP Plus

S. Schwartz and J. Zabel

Canadian Public Policy, vol. 34, 2008, p. 321-344

The Canadian Self Sufficiency Project (SSP) was an attempt to 'make work pay' for long-term benefits claimants by supplementing their earnings if they took a paid job. Lone parents claiming benefits qualified for a generous earnings supplement if they took up full-time work and left the welfare rolls within 12 months of entering the project. Once qualified, they received a supplement that roughly doubled their pre-tax earnings during periods of full-time work in the next three years. This paper focuses on the impact of SSP Plus, a variant of the programme which provided job-related services as well as the income supplement to former welfare recipients. The analysis shows that individuals receiving SSP Plus had a significantly higher employment rate at the end of the follow-up period. This suggests that an earnings supplement alone is not enough to induce a permanent change in employment behaviour.

Interactions between welfare caseloads and local labor markets

B.C. Hill and M.N. Murray

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 26, 2008, p. 539-554

Welfare reform in the USA and the introduction of work requirements have generated considerable interest in the consequences of the post-Aid to Families with Dependent Children policy regimes that spread across the states in the 1990s. The research presented in this article explores interactions between local labour markets and welfare caseload activity, including welfare entries and exits. The primary goal of the analysis was to disentangle the direction of causality between caseload activity and unemployment rates. The causality analysis applied to all labour market areas indicates that unemployment rates impact on caseload activity by retarding the rate of welfare exit. There is no evidence that unemployment rates impact on welfare entry. Analysis also shows that welfare entry rates appear to have a negative effect on unemployment rates, counter to the spillover hypothesis. Finally, welfare exits tend to dampen unemployment rates.

Professionals of policies for fighting unemployment in France: the construction and de-construction of professionalism

S. Divay

European Societies, vol. 10, 2008, p. 673-686

This paper explains how the rise of unemployment in France at the end of the 1970s favoured the emergence of a heterogeneous group of advisers to the unemployed and how a specific common expertise, work culture and professional identity developed among them despite the diversity of their employment contexts. The work of this group is also situated in the framework of unemployment policies at national, European and international levels. The paper shows how increased policy emphasis on a quick return to work, tight financial control and increased assessment and monitoring of the job-seeking activities of the unemployed have affected the work practices and priorities of the advisers.

Why wait? Examining delayed WIC participation among pregnant women

L. Tiehen and A.Jacknowitz

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 26, 2008, p. 518-538

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutritious food, nutrition counselling and referrals to health and other social services to low-income women and their children up to the age of five. The programme was established as a pilot in 1972 and now serves about eight million women across the USA. Despite the proven benefits of prenatal participation in WIC, many eligible women either do not participate or begin to participate late in their pregnancies. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort, this research shows that more disadvantaged women are likely to access WIC, and with some notable exceptions, to participate earlier in their pregnancies. Hispanic women, especially those with language difficulties, enrol in WIC later in their pregnancies. Early WIC participation, especially among teenagers, is less likely among first time mothers.

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