Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Social security - overseas

Activation policies and organisational innovation in the capability perspective

J.-M. Bonvin and M. Orton (guest editors)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 29, 2009, p. 565-661

Activation policies targeted on the unemployed have become a central feature of contemporary welfare provision. This special issue seeks to demonstrate that issues related to activation policy are more complex than mere questions of technical efficiency. The capability approach developed by Sen and Nussbaum is used as a framework for a more sophisticated analysis of active labour market policies and identification of their failings. The capability approach is used to analyse activation policies in six European countries, both those aimed at the general workforce and those targeted on particular groups, such as disabled people.

Assessing effects of Food Stamp Program participation on child food security in vulnerable households: do informal supports matter?

M. Lombe, M. Yu and V.E. Nebbitt

Families in Society, vol. 90, 2009, p. 353-358

The Food Stamp Program (renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2008) aims to ensure that American households have access to an adequate food supply. This study examines the effect of participating in the programme on food security among children in vulnerable households using data from the Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey of 2003. Results suggest that the Food Stamp Program plays an important role in alleviating food insecurity among children in vulnerable households in combination with informal assistance from community initiatives such as food banks and soup kitchens. However, food insecurity and hunger appear to persist among children in African American households, children in households in which the head works fewer hours, and households whose heads report lower levels of education, in spite of the safety net.

Effects of welfare participation on marriage

J.O. Teitler and others

Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 71, 2009, p. 878-891

This research investigated the widely held belief that welfare participation causes women to refrain from marriage using data from the US Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. An event history approach was used to study transitions to marriage among mothers who had had a child out of wedlock. Results showed that welfare participation reduced the likelihood of marriage, but only while the mother was receiving benefits. Once the mother had left welfare, past receipt had little effect on marriage. It is inferred that the negative association between welfare participation and subsequent marriage reflects temporary economic disincentives rather than an erosion of values.

Making transitions pay: an assessment of the Dutch life-course scheme

T. van Huizen and J. Plantenga

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 35-52

The introduction of individual savings accounts may provide an innovative way forward for the reform of European social security systems. This article sheds light on the feasibility of social security savings accounts by analysing the recently implemented Dutch life-course scheme, Levensloopregeling. This scheme provides all employees with the legal right to save part of their gross wage to finance a period of unpaid leave for whatever purpose.

The provision of income protection and activation services for the unemployed in 'active' welfare states: an international comparison

R. van Berkel

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 17-34

This article looks at reforms of the ways in which income protection and activation programmes for the unemployed are provided and operate. It analyses and compares four major operational reforms in the areas of income protection and activation: 1) the merger of the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service to form JobCentre Plus in the UK (2002); 2) the Hartz reforms in Germany (2003-05); 3) the Structural Reform in Denmark, which involves the entire Danish public sector, and includes governance of labour market policies (2007); and 4) the SUWI (Structure of the Administration of Work and Income) reforms in the Netherlands (2002). It contributes to the understanding of these reforms by analysing how they can be interpreted as responses to pressures arising from the transition from passive to active welfare states.

Strategies for engaging adults in welfare-to-work activities

C.M. Vu, E.K. Anthony and M.J. Austin

Families in Society, vol. 90, 2009, p. 359-366

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 put increased pressure on US states and counties to engage Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) participants in work or welfare-to-work activities. However, these participation requirements and the related engagement strategies often lead to short-term workforce participation. Given that many TANF participants face multiple and recurring barriers to employment, there is a need to shift from strategies that achieve only short-term work participation to strategies that increase employability.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web