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

Governing social inclusion: Europeanization through policy coordination

K Armstrong

Oxford: OUP, 2010

The pursuit of social solidarity and social justice has typically occurred within the boundaries of nation states. Yet in 2000, EU Member States committed themselves to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and agreed to coordinate their activities within the framework of a novel governance process: the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). This book analyzes the emerging governance of social inclusion in the EU and the use of the OMC as a mechanism for Europeanization of domestic social policy. It explores EU interventions to combat poverty and social exclusion, and addresses the changing constitutional, policy and governance context in which these interventions have occurred. It traces the impact of debates surrounding the Lisbon Treaty and the Lisbon Strategy in framing the possibilities and limits of EU action. Drawing on primary documentary material, on interviews with key actors and on a wide range of academic literature, this study offers a socio-legal account of the successes and failures of a decade of EU policy coordination.

Poverty, government policy and public opinion in Britain and Israel: a comparative analysis

M. Monnickendam and D. Gordon

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 44, 2010, p. 554-574

This article compares poverty, government policy and public opinion on poverty in the UK and Israel based on rich and detailed survey data on the condition of the poor in both countries. Results show that, despite similar levels of poverty and inequality, the poor have a considerably lower standard of living in Israel than in the UK. There is greater public support for the poor in Israel but limited government action on poverty. In contrast, there is more limited public support for the poor in the UK but significant government action to tackle poverty.

The public's changing perception of the condition of social welfare in Hong Kong: lessons for social development

T. K-Y. Wong, P.-S. Wan and K. W-K. Law

Social Policy and Administration, vol.44, 2010, p. 620-640

This research employed Midgley's three-dimensional concept of social welfare to chart changes in Hong Kong people's perceptions of the issue between 1997 and 2008. Results showed that there is a widespread concern about poverty which had intensified over the study period. The public's overall life satisfaction is relatively high and had improved over time. However there is a discrepancy between government provision of social welfare and the people's expectations, especially with regard to care of the elderly and health services. Finally, people have consistently regarded opportunities for social mobility as inadequate.

Revisioning comparative welfare state studies: an 'indigenous dimension'

L. Humpage

Policy Studies, vol.31, 2010, p. 539-557

Although welfare states have been categorised according to a wide range of dimensions, little attention has been paid to the specific forms of recognitive justice which influence the development of the welfare state, particularly in countries where internally colonised indigenous people not only constitute a disproportionate number of welfare recipients, but also hold additional rights to those associated with citizenship. Socio-economic disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples are considerable in liberal welfare states where significant recognition of indigenous rights has been made and where indigenous peoples also play a significant role in delivering social provision. Such disparities are narrower in social democratic welfare states such as Norway, Sweden and Finland (where the Sami people live) which have focused on the provision of more universalistic social rights but have provided little space for indigenous focused social provision. Uncertainty thus remains about the best mix of recognition and redistribution needed to produce good outcomes for indigenous people. Drawing on the cases of New Zealand and Australia, this article proposes a framework for examining different welfare states that aims to shed some light on this critical issue.

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