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

An exploratory research: a comparative analysis of mainstream and ethnic media coverage of social policy issues in the economic stimulus plan debate

M. Biswas

Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, vol. 26, 2010, p. 13-26

This article examines the coverage of the 2009 economic stimulus plan debate in both mainstream and ethnic media in the United States, as news media can contribute to the policy-making process by identifying problems and priority areas. The research analysed coverage of healthcare, education and employment compared with other areas of the economic stimulus plan, such as finance, energy, environment and housing. Both mainstream and ethnic media gave prominence to the same issues with the exception of education. Content analysis found differences in the coverage of education among the eight ethnic media outlets studied.

From welfare state to welfare society: toward a viable system of welfare in Japan and England

R. Laratta

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.19, 2010, p. 131-141

In the 1980s and 1990s Japan and England, like many other developed countries, reduced the role of the state in social welfare provision and contracted out delivery to a range of non-profit organisations. By the late 1990s it became clear that private organisations (for-profits or non-profits) could not cope with the whole burden of social services provision. In both Japan and England a new wave of reforms in the late 1990s was intended to remedy the situation. In England these reforms produced a shift away from privatisation and contracting out towards collaboration and partnership between state and non-profit entities, while in Japan they promoted a new era of deregulation and privatisation.

Health inequalities between lone and couple mothers and policy under different welfare regimes: the example of Italy, Sweden and Britain

B. Burstrom and others

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 70, 2010, p. 912-920

Welfare state arrangements and social policies are important determinants of health inequalities. This study examines the impact of welfare state arrangements and social policies on the health and living conditions of lone and couple mothers in the UK, Sweden and Italy. Lone mothers had significantly worse health than couple mothers in all three countries; were significantly more likely to suffer material disadvantage; and were much more likely to smoke. However, significant differences between countries were also identified in relation to prevalence of lone motherhood, and their class composition, rates of joblessness, poverty and health status compared with couple mothers. These differences may be traced back to the welfare policies of each country, but also partly reflect culture and traditions.

The impact of the use of social welfare services or social security benefits on attitudes to social welfare policies

A. Muuri

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 19, 2010, p. 182-193

Data from a Finnish national survey conducted in 2006 are used to explore the attitudes of clients and citizens to social welfare services and social security benefits. The empirical analysis shows that:

  1. there is general support for Finnish social welfare services and social security benefits, mixed with growing criticism from women and pensioners who are supposed to benefit most from the welfare state
  2. people with a university education have a more positive attitude than others to both social welfare services and social security benefits
  3. the distribution of perceived risks, such as unemployment, influences attitudes to welfare provision.

Welfare governance reforms and effects in the Post-Golden Age

K. Verhoest and P. Mattei (guest editors)

Public Management Review, vol.12, 2010, p. 163-274

Since the early 1980s, the delivery arrangements for social provision in Europe have considerably changed. Delivery has shifted away from the state as sole provider of welfare services towards a mixed economy in which services are provided by a mix of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. Moreover managerialist reforms have been introduced which aim to increase the autonomy of service providers while also introducing greater accountability and pressure to meet performance standards. This special issue analyses such governance reforms pertaining to social provision on a European scale, accounting for the effects of different welfare regimes. Three policy domains are covered: healthcare, higher education and elderly care and data are presented from countries with differing politico-administrative cultures, legal traditions and welfare regimes.

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