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

Choice: challenges and perspectives for the European welfare states

B. Greve (guest editor)

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 43, 2009, special issue, p.539-679

European welfare states have focused in recent years on promoting user choice. The articles in this special issue analyse this change from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Theoretical articles focus on the conditions that need to be fulfilled to ensure an informed choice for users, and on the Third Way understanding of the impact of choice. The empirical articles offer a concrete analysis of a variety of choices available in European welfare states, covering education, health, day care and long-term care, and focusing on choice of provider and type of services. Gender implications and the impact of choice are also central to several articles.

The global social policy reader

N. Yeates and C. Holden (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2009

This book collects together a comprehensive range of key papers by international leaders in the field that cover the emergence of global social policy as a dynamic and expanding field, the transformation of welfare from a predominantly national to a global field of action, and the impact of globalisation on key welfare discourses and governance mechanisms. The book features an introductory chapter by the editors and specially written commentaries at the start of each section, which, together with the main readings provide a comprehensive and accessible guide to the key themes, issues and debates in global social policy.

The importance of socio-economic and political losses and gains in welfare state reform

B. Vis

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 19, 2009, p. 395-407

Using insights from prospect theory, this article investigates the conditions necessary for governments to introduce unpopular welfare state reforms such as benefits cuts, or to pursue the path of increasing or decreasing expenditure on not-unpopular reforms, such as activation policies for the unemployed. An fs/QCA analysis of the reform activities of 23 German, Dutch, Danish and British governments between 1979 and 2005 demonstrates that a deteriorating socio-economic situation, combined with an improving political position or a Right-Wing government, is a necessary pre-condition for the introduction of benefits cuts. Conversely, a strong political position, combined with an improving socio-economic situation or a Left-Wing government, will trigger reforms in the area of activation.

Third Way reforms: social democracy after the Golden Age

J. Huo

Cambridge: CUP, 2009

This book examines the transformation of contemporary social democracy through the concept of 'third way' reforms. It proposes a set of theories about the possibility for continuing social democratic ideological adaptation, for ideologies to overcome institutional constraints in triggering path-breaking innovations, and for social democracy to bridge the insider-outsider divide. Empirically, the book utilizes these theories to account for social democratic welfare state and labour market reforms in nine OECD countries after the end of the Golden Age. Based on the logic of 'public evils,' the book proposes that the ideologically contested nature of institutions provides incentives for institutional innovation. Social democratic ideology shapes the fundamental characteristics and content of the Third Way policy paradigm and the paradigm's practical implementation continues to be path-dependent on historical institutional settings.

Up and out of poverty: the social marketing solution

P. Kotler and N. Lee

Harlow: Pearson Education, 2009

Marketing seems an unlikely weapon in the fight against poverty; however this book shows how to apply advanced marketing strategies and techniques - including segmentation, targeting, and positioning - to systematically put in place the conditions poor people need to escape poverty. It demonstrates how these marketing techniques can help promote health, education, community building, personal motivation, and more. The authors provide the first complete, marketing-informed methodology for addressing specific poverty-related problems - and assessing the results. They also demonstrate how national and local anti-poverty programmes can be improved by more effectively linking government, NGOs, and private companies. Over the past 30 years, the authors' social marketing techniques have been successfully applied to health care, environmental protection, family planning, and many other social challenges. Now, they show how they can be applied to the largest social challenge of all: global poverty.

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