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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2009): Welfare state - overseas

Age group conflict or cooperation? Children and pensioners in Russia in crisis

S. Kanji

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 29, 2009, p. 372-387

In a period of intense economic crisis in Russia in the late 1990s, both retirement pensions and child benefits were cut. However, by 2001 pension spending had partially recovered, but this was not the case for child benefit. Moreover, means testing of child benefit was introduced in 1999, while there was an expansion of groups entitled to pensions before the official retirement age. Analysis shows that the fact that pensions were sustained was crucial to the survival of many Russian households, as these were used to support children living with grandparents. Pensioners not only contributed their pensions to support other family members, but also remained in employment to an extent not seen in other industrialised countries.

Attitudes towards redistributive spending in an era of demographic ageing: the rival pressures from age and income in 14 OECD countries

M.R. Busemeyer, A. Goerres and S. Weschle

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 19, 2009, p. 195-212

This article deals with the determinants of individual attitudes towards the welfare state. More specifically, it tests the relative importance of age differences in shaping these attitudes, compared to the socio-economic position (captured by income) of the individual, the latter being a factor commonly believed to determine social policy preferences. A multivariate analysis of the 1996 ISSP Role of Government Data Set for 14 OECD countries shows considerable age-related differences in welfare state preferences. Particularly in the case of education, but also in other policy areas, position in the life cycle emerges as a more important predictor of preferences than income. Age is also a more salient factor in political preference formation in some countries than in others across all policy fields.

Dilemmas of reconciling local delivery and central direction in public services

J. Radcliffe and G. Heath (editors)

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 22, 2009, p. 389-456

This special issue explores the way in which local government and other service providers are encouraged to develop services which respond to local need, while being controlled by a central government agenda which sets the context within which local decision making has to take place. Articles cover:

  • The way in which local responses to homelessness in the USA are constrained within a funding process which requires a combination of competitive bids for resources and a centrally directed collaborative process
  • Dysfunctional elements in the way in which resources are allocated in Swedish services for young people, following the development of new public management
  • Problems associated with performance measurement in emergency ambulance services in the UK
  • Use of a tailored model for the implementation and evaluation of a local programme designed to increase physical activity among at risk young people in a deprived city in the UK
  • Local strategic partnerships in England which exist to promote collaborative working between local authorities and partner organisations
  • The way in which central government has used performance regimes to direct the activities of local authorities

Global social policy and international organizations

H. Seckinelgin

Global Social Policy, vol.9, 2009, p. 205-227

This article analyses inequality of access to the global social policy process. It explores how these inequalities are produced, maintained and reproduced by looking at the relationship between international organisations and non-governmental organisations. Two instances of IO/NGO relationships are examined as illustrative examples. The first case study looks at the processes by which international gay and lesbian organisations are trying to obtain formal NGO consultative status with the United Nations by applying to the UN's Economic and Social Council. The second case study looks at the role of NGOs within the formal structure of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

Migration and welfare state solidarity in Western Europe

S. Mau and C. Burkhardt

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 19, 2009, p. 213-229

A number of authors expect that popular support for welfare states in Western Europe will be weakened as a result of increased immigration and ethnic diversity, and that this will lead to a reduction in social spending. In response to such views, this article attempts to explore how migration and ethnic diversity affect citizen support for the welfare state using data from the European Social Survey 2002/03. The analysis shows that growth in ethnic diversity has a negative effect on support for welfare state redistribution and for inclusion of foreigners. However welfare state support is also influenced by other factors such as GDP, unemployment rates, and the nature of the welfare regime.

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