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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Social security - overseas

Back to work after Incapacity Benefit: differences between ethnic minority and native Dutch workers

E. Snel and F. Linder

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 768-788

In the Netherlands, as elsewhere in Western Europe, there are lasting concerns about the inferior socio-economic position of ethnic minority groups. Amongst other indicators of disadvantage, ethnic minorities are over-represented in the social security system. Following new theoretical insights about transitional labour markets (TLM), this study focuses on the extent to which social benefit claimants with a minority ethnic background are able to escape from incapacity benefits and return to the labour market. Analysis of a unique register file that contains information about all incapacity benefit claimants from 1999 shows that escape from incapacity benefit is more exceptional for Turkish or Moroccan migrant workers than for native Dutch. Contrary to initial assumptions, this difference cannot be explained by unfavourable personal characteristics such as age, gender or low educational level.

Brazil's Bolsa Familia; a double-edged sword

A. Hall

Development and Change, Vol.39, 2008, p.799-822

Brazil has enthusiastically embraced conditional cash transfer programmes in its fight against poverty and social exclusion. Under the regimes of Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio da Silva a number of such schemes were consolidated to form the Bolsa Famalia (Family Grant). Despite its operational problems, the Bolsa Familia appears to have been effective in providing short-term relief to some of the most deprived groups in Brazil. However, there is a risk that, due to its popularity among both the poor and politicians, it could increase patronage in the distribution of social and economic benefits and create a culture of dependence on government handouts. There also early signs that it may be contributing to a reduction in social spending on education, housing and basic sanitation.

State welfare rules, TANF exits and geographic context: does place matter?

S.K. Irving

Rural Sociology, vol. 73, 2008, p. 605-630

This study addresses gaps in the US welfare exits literature by examining TANF exits with and without work in a framework that differentiates

  1. areas of concentrated economic disadvantage from less disadvantaged areas within metropolitan and rural areas and
  2. stringent versus lenient state TANF policy impacts across more and less economically disadvantaged areas.

Results show that female TANF participants in poor Southern rural areas are least likely to exit TANF with work, and participants in large Rustbelt cities are less likely to exit TANF with work than those in other metropolitan areas. The effects of state welfare rules on TANF exits differ across places of residence. For example, stringent time limit policies promote work exits in large Rustbelt cities but promote non-work exits in poor Southern rural areas. More lenient earned income disregards are significantly related to remaining on TANF in poor Southern rural areas but promote work exits in all other places.

Woman beneficiaries or women bearing the cost: a gendered analysis of the Red de Protección Social in Nicaragua

S. Bradshaw with A. Quirós Víquez

Development and Change, Vol. 39, 2008, p.823-844

This article explores the extent to which conditional cash transfer programmes benefit the poor and who pays the price, using the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social (RPS) as a case study. It describes the RPS in general before looking more closely at the three areas of education, health and the role of woman. It concludes that the long-term benefits that are assumed to occur the imposition of conditions are far from certain, and that the costs of such conditions may be high, particularly for woman, who are made responsible for meeting them.

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