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

Changing relations of welfare: family, gender and migration in Britain and Scandinavia

J. Fink and A. Lundqvist (editors)

Farnham: Ashgate, 2010

The book is concerned with the complexities of family relations and practices in the recent past and how these have been addressed in present policy making. It uses rich and varied sources to offer an innovative approach to the analysis of meanings afforded to the family in different policy, legal and welfare contexts in Sweden, Denmark and Britain. This book considers how debates about responsibility, obligation and rights have been gendered in social policy and welfare practice. Presenting a historically informed, comparative analysis of the shifting dynamics in the relationship between family and the state, this volume offers new pathways for exploring questions of change and continuity.

Evidence-based decisions and economics: health care, social welfare, education and criminal justice. 2nd ed.

I. Shemilt and others (editors)

Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

The need for evidence-based decisions that take account of both effectiveness and economics is greater now than ever. The book describes how the activities and outputs of evidence synthesis, systematic review, economic analysis and decision-making interact within and across different spheres of health and social policy and practice. Expanding on the first edition the book now covers approaches to evidence synthesis that combine economics and systematic review methods in the applied fields of social welfare, education and criminal justice, as well as health care.

Evidence and policy in six European countries: diverse approaches and common challenges

S. Nutley and others

Evidence and Policy, vol. 6, 2010, p. 131-285

Despite a shared commitment to evidence-based policy, there is diversity in how stakeholders in the six countries have approached delivering on it. Explanations for this diversity seem to be rooted in differences in national cultural, political and administrative arrangements. The articles in this special issue cover evidence-based policy and practice in welfare services and education in Norway, social care services in Sweden, social services in Ireland, healthcare in the Netherlands, and health and social inclusion in Ireland.

Gender inequalities in the 21st century: new barriers and continuing constraints

J. Scott, R. Crompton and C. Lyonette (editors)

Cheltenham: Elgar, 2010

Both women and men strive to achieve a work and family balance, but does this imply more or less equality? Does the persistence of gender and class inequalities refute the notion that lives are becoming more individualised? In this book leading international authorities document how gender inequalities are changing and how many inequalities of earlier eras are being eradicated. However, there are new barriers and constraints that are slowing progress in attaining a more egalitarian society. Taking the new global economy into account, the expert contributors to this book examine the conflicts between different types of feminisms, revise old debates about 'equality' and 'difference' in the gendered nature of work and care and propose new and innovative policy solutions.

Is there an East European social model?

C. Neesham and I. Tache

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 37, 2010, p. 344-360

This paper aims to compare the recent social welfare performance of old and new members of the European Union, and to establish whether a specific East European social model is emerging. The analysis shows that the new EU member states form two distinct groups, in both current social performance and structural trends. Countries in group A (the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania) register significantly inferior performance when compared with those in group B (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia). While social performance across group A is constantly inferior to all four traditional European social models practised by older EU members, countries in group B have achieved partial results comparable with Mediterranean and even Anglo-Saxon countries. Results suggest that, in Eastern Europe, social policies of the Continental type deliver better performance than minimalist social policies of the neoliberal type.

Migrants, welfare systems and social citizenship in Ireland and Britain: users or abusers?

O. Corrigan

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 415-437

Migrants have often been charged with exploiting generous Western welfare states. This article takes advantage of a rare confluence of factors highly favourable to comparative research to assess how similar migrant cohorts react to the incentives offered by relatively more and less generous welfare states in terms of welfare utilisation and labour market attachment. The focus is on two EU countries with large recent inflows of EU migrants: Ireland and Britain. This article adds depth and nuance to the discussion by disaggregating the concept of welfare dependency into component parts capturing the differences between usage of state-provided welfare to varying degrees, mere participation in the welfare system, and absolute dependency on state-provided welfare. Migrants in Ireland's relatively more generous welfare system are shown to have no greater likelihood of welfare dependency, and in fact show a lower usage of welfare (as a proportion of total income), than similar migrants in Britain. However, the likelihood of forming a partial attachment to the labour market is seen to respond to increasing levels of welfare usage in Ireland but not in Britain, suggesting that migrants may be taking an active role in how they define their position in the work-welfare nexus in response to welfare system incentives.

New Governance and the European Employment Strategy

S. Velluti

London: Routledge, 2010

In recent years new or experimental approaches to governance in the EU, namely the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), have attracted great interest and controversy. This book examines the European Employment Strategy (EES) and its implementation through the OMC, exploring the promises and limitations of the EES for EU social law and policy and for the safeguarding of social rights. This timely work offers new insights and fresh perspectives into the operation of New Governance and its relationship with both European and national law and constitutionalism.

Patterns of welfare state indicators in the EU: is there convergence?

K. Caminada, K. Goudswaard and O. Van Vliet

Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 48, 2010, p. 529-556

Convergence of social protection systems may occur both as a consequence of the implementation of EU social policies and as a consequence of economic integration. Theoretically, economic integration could either be followed by social convergence or competition could result in a 'race to the bottom' as regards social protection. This research analyses the most recent data on social expenditures, replacement rates for unemployment benefits and social assistance benefits, and three poverty indicators. The results show a strong convergence of social expenditure across the EU over time, but this trend seems to have stagnated, possibly under the influence of welfare state reform. Replacement rates for unemployment benefits clearly converged to a higher level, but net social assistance benefits have fallen in several countries since 1992 and do not show convergence. Poverty rates and poverty gaps have converged since the mid-1980s, but the levels of both indicators have developed in opposite directions.

What's wrong with social policy and how to fix it

B. Jordan

Cambridge: Polity, 2010

This book argues that the financial crash of 2008-9 has exposed the disastrous consequences of applying economic theory to the collective life of societies. In seeking to manage social relationships through incentives for individual gain, market-like menus of choices and business-style sets of interlocking contracts, the model adopted by the governments of the UK and USA has subverted the basis for social policy in mutuality and membership. This has been demonstrated by growing inequalities, by failures and scandals in the social services, by the flat-lining of measured well-being (even during the boom years), by increases in a wide range of social problems, and by public disillusion over the effectiveness of policy programmes. In the post-crash world, the political culture needs to enable the expression of collective action for the benefits of interdependence, and to overcome the threats of ecological catastrophe and divisive ideology. Only in this way can social policy be part of an inclusive global movement to restore faith in a politics of social justice.

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