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

Building assets from birth: a global comparison of child development account policies

V. Loke and M. Sherraden

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 18, 2009, p. 119-129

To succeed in today's globalised and knowledge-based economy, people must continually invest in themselves and expand their capabilities. In order to do this, they need assets which enable them to meet unanticipated costs and seize opportunities. The UK, Singapore, Canada and South Korea have recently implemented schemes to build assets for every child starting from birth. This article provides an overview of these schemes, and a proposed similar policy in the USA.

Can 'refundable' state Earned Income Tax Credits explain child poverty in the American states?

Y. Lim

Journal of Children and Poverty, vol. 15, 2009, p. 39-53

US states with refundable state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) offset state income tax liabilities for qualifying families and provide supplemental income via tax refunds if the credit exceeds a family's tax liabilities. By contrast, non-refundable state EITCs only protect a family's taxable income. This study estimates the effects of state EITCs on overall and child poverty. Results indicate that a refundable state EITC is associated with reductions in child poverty but has no effect on overall poverty.

The dynamics of social assistance recipiency: empirical evidence from Norway

H.-T. Hansen

European Sociological Review, vol. 25, 2009, p. 215-231

There is considerable concern about long-term receipt of social assistance in many western countries. Social assistance is intended to provide short-term support in a crisis, and there are concerns that long-term receipt is leading to dependency. There is also evidence that claimants leaving social assistance tend to return. This study explored the dynamics of social assistance in Norway using panel data methods to investigate amount of money received and event history analysis to examine social assistance duration and repeat claims. Results show that most people spend only short periods on social assistance, although many who leave later re-enter. Immigrants, especially those from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, receive more social assistance payments for longer periods than native Norwegians. There is no difference between people born in Norway and those born abroad as regards repeat claims.

Impacts of the Oportunidades Program

Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol.57, 2009, p. 439-588

This symposium looks at the impacts of the Oportunidades conditional cash transfer programme in Mexico, covering:

  • Schooling, focusing on the benefits of the nutritional elements of the programme for infants and young children, as shown in their subsequent improved academic achievement
  • Consumption of food and non-food items
  • Use of Oportunidades cash transfers paid to women, which tend to be invested in children and small-scale livestock
  • Impact on skilled attendance in childbirth
  • Programme targeting performance

The 'X component' in Shanghai's social security reforms

G. Davies and others

International Social Security Review, vol. 62, Apr.-June 2009, p. 31-54

In 2003 the Shanghai Bureau of Labour and Social Security launched the zenbao (town insurance) programme, now widely known as 25 plus X. The scheme aims to extend social security coverage to people in the towns surrounding Shanghai who previously either received lower benefits under the rural insurance scheme or had no cover at all. It is also used as a means of compensating those who have been dispossessed of their land use rights due to Shanghai's urban expansion. Using data from 103,000 individuals enrolled in 25 plus X, this article examines the extent to which the scheme represents a true extension of social security coverage.

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