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

Between state and professional autonomy: negotiating institutional dilemmas in social welfare settings

E. Hjörne, K. Juhila and C. Van Nijnatten (guest editors)

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 19, 2010, p. 303-357

This mini-symposium aims to explore institutional practices from the perspective of negotiating dilemmas between managerialist policies and professional autonomy in social welfare settings. The articles study dilemmas in action with different client groups in social welfare work. They cover work with children, with people with mental health and substance abuse problems, unemployed people and elderly people in a range of organisational contexts across several countries.

Choice: challenges and perspectives for the European welfare state

B. Greve (editor)

Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

This book analyzes the impact of choice on welfare states in Europe. The recent focus on choice in many welfare states has created a more market-orientated approach, changed users to consumers, and increased the emphasis on private providers. By using a variety of methodologies and examples from different European countries and different sectors of the welfare state, the book examines the impact of these recent reforms on equality, not only from an economic perspective, but also in relation to gender and access to services. Theoretically and empirically informed, this book asks whether the shift towards more choice will ultimately benefit the users and providers of the welfare state, and have a positive impact on society as a whole.

The East Asian welfare state debate and surrogate social policy: an exploratory study on Japan and South Korea

Pil Ho Kim

Socio-Economic Review, vol. 8, 2010, p. 411-435

The welfare states in East Asia have been widely considered underdeveloped. Since the definition and measurement of social policy and the welfare state are subject to change depending on the specific historical, political and economic context, the welfare underdevelopment thesis deserves scrutiny. In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, agricultural protection and enterprise welfare have been surrogates of conventional welfare policies. This paper focuses on these two areas of surrogate social policy and explores their empirical basis with the OECD data on Japan and Korea. The results show that surrogate social policy measures such as producer support estimates for agricultural protection and mandatory private social spending for enterprise welfare add up to differentiate East Asian countries from other OECD members. This suggests a distinct political-economic model for East Asian social welfare.

Individualisation and personal obligations: social policy, family policy and law reform in Germany and the UK

M. Daly and K. Scheiwe

International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, vol.24, 2010, p. 177-197

Contemporary social change is moving in the direction of increased individualisation, whereby people become more independent and autonomous, family bonds are loosened, and a growing diversity in relationship practices emerges. This article explores the relationship between individualisation and the institutions which regulate personal obligations to care for and maintain others. It argues that public provision and legal regulation today are counteracting market forces that treat people as individuals divorced from family and care obligations. This is done in four ways: 1) alteration of models of parenting in social and family law; 2) the granting of some general rights around care; 3) concern with maintenance of a healthy work-life balance; and 4) the expansion of childcare and educational services outside the family. The social policy and family law reforms in both Britain and Germany , while tending in the general direction of individualisation, confirm some relations and activities as family based and sources of family obligation.

National identity and support for the welfare state

R. Johnston and others

Canadian Journal of Political Science, vol.43, 2010, p.349-377

It has been argued in recent years that a strong sense of national identity can sustain a sense of community, one defined by a shared commitment to mutual support. This paper examines the role of national identity in sustaining support for the welfare state in Canada. It seeks to answer two questions. Firstly, does national identity mitigate opposition to the welfare state and redistribution among high income Canadians? Secondly, does national identity mitigate any corrosive effects that ethnic diversity flowing from new patterns of immigration may have on support for redistribution? The paper answers these questions in the affirmative. It argues that national identity contributes to a sense of belonging and solidarity that transcends economic interest and cultural difference.

On the convergence of social protection performance in the European Union

M. Lefebvre, T. Coelli and P. Pestieau

CESifo Economic Studies, vol.56, 2010, p. 300-322

In this paper, data on five social inclusion indicators (poverty, inequality, unemployment, education and health) are used to compare the performance of 15 European welfare states over a twelve year period from 1995 to 2006. Aggregate measures of performance are obtained using index number methods similar to those employed in the construction of the widely used Human Development Index. These are compared with alternative measures derived from data envelopment analysis measures. The influence of methodology choice and the assumptions made in scaling the indicators on the results obtained are illustrated and discussed. The analysis of the evolution of performance over time provides some evidence of convergence and none of social dumping.

The politics of welfare state reform in continental Europe: modernization in hard times

S. Häusermann

Cambridge: CUP, 2010

This book challenges existing theories of welfare state change by analyzing pension reforms in France, Germany, and Switzerland between 1970 and 2004. It explains why all three countries were able to adopt far-reaching reforms, adapting their pension regimes to both financial austerity and new social risks. In a radical departure from the neo-institutionalist emphasis on policy stability, the book argues that socio-structural change has led to a multidimensional pension reform agenda. A variety of cross-cutting lines of political conflict, emerging from the transition to a post-industrial economy, allowed governments to engage in strategies of political exchange and coalition-building, fostering broad cross-class coalitions in support of major reform packages. Methodologically, the book proposes a novel strategy to analyze lines of conflict, configurations of political actors, and coalitional dynamics over time.

Social policy and public health across the life course

M. Aberg and others (editors)

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol.19, 2010, Supplement 1, 130p

This supplement presents a number of in-depth studies of social policy programmes and their relation to health and survival. They include detailed analyses of how the design and generosity of social policy institutions can be of importance for public health outcomes. This suggests that social policies can serve as an important instrument for improvements in public health. The main link between social policies and health is income redistribution and its impact on economic standards and poverty alleviation.

Wealth, health and democracy in East Asia and Latin America

J. McGuire

Cambridge: CUP, 2010

Why do some societies fare well, and others poorly, at reducing the risk of early death? This book finds that the public provision of basic health care and other inexpensive social services has reduced mortality rapidly even in tough economic circumstances, and that political democracy has contributed to the provision and utilization of such social services, in a wider range of ways than is sometimes recognized. These conclusions are based on case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, as well as on cross-national comparisons involving these cases and others.

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