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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2010): Social security - overseas

Can in-work benefits improve social inclusion in the southern European countries

F. Figari

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.20, 2010, p. 301-315

This paper analyses the effects of implementing two different types of in-work benefits in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain using EUROMOD, the EU-wide tax benefit microsimulation model. The first in-work benefit is a family-based policy based on the British Working Tax Credit. The second is an individual scheme implemented as a low-wage subsidy conditional on working at least 16 hours per week. The family-based in-work benefits appear to be more redistributive, in particular in Italy and Portugal, but the presence of extended families does not enable such policies to be well-targeted on the very poorest, especially in Spain. Individual policies lead to better incentives to work than family-based in-work benefits, in particular for Spanish and Italian women in couples whose labour market participation is far below the European average.

Child care subsidies post TANF: child care subsidy use by African American, White and Hispanic TANF-leavers

A.B. Shlay, M. Weinraub and M. Harmon

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1711-1718

The Child Care and Development Fund was intended to support welfare reform in the US by providing childcare subsidies to families re-entering the labour market and leaving the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programme. Using information from a sample of African-American, Hispanic and White TANF-leavers living in Philadelphia in 2005, this study explored whether they were actually able to access these key childcare subsidies. The overwhelming majority of TANF-leavers neither accessed childcare subsidies nor used childcare at all. The study points to a failure in the system through which many TANF leavers do not acquire the subsidies that are intended to assist them in the acquisition and maintenance of employment.

Curbing corruption through social welfare reform? The effects of Mexico's conditional cash transfer program on good government

M. Grimes and L. Wangnerud

American Review of Public Administration, vol.40, 2010, p.671-690

The first conditional cash transfer programme was launched in Mexico in 1997. The main aim was to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty, but the programme was also intended to reduce corruption and increase efficiency in the public administration. Using data from Transparency International Mexico, the Federal Register of Civil Society Organisations, and the national census, this paper analyses the impact of conditional cash transfers on corruption and on two other aspects of political life argued to affect government probity in the long term: the density of civil society organisations and the empowerment of women as indicated by levels of involvement in civil society. The results are encouraging with respect to reducing corruption but disappointing regarding the effects on civil society and the empowerment of women.

Economic incentives for dietary improvement among Food Stamp recipients

B.-H. Lin and others

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 24, 2010, p. 524-536

Most Americans, especially those on low incomes, need to eat more fruit, vegetables and dairy products. This study examines the cost effectiveness of two different policy levers available within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to increase consumption of these foods. Results suggest that a 10% price subsidy would curtail consumption deficiencies by 4-7% at an estimated cost of $734m a year. When the same $734m is used to finance food stamp benefits, consumption deficiencies are predicted to narrow by only 0.35%-0.40%.

Perspectives from the frontline: palliative care providers' expectations of Canada's compassionate care benefit programme

M. Giesbrecht, V.A. Crooks and A. Williams

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 18, 2010, p. 643-652

This study examines the perspectives of frontline palliative care providers regarding a social benefit programme in Canada designed to support caregivers looking after dying family members, namely the Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB). The CCB's purpose is to provide income assistance and job security to family caregivers who take temporary leave from employment to care for a dying relative. This analysis draws on semi-structured interviews with 50 palliative care providers from across Canada and contributes to an evaluative study that aims to provide policy-relevant recommendations about the CCB. Frontline palliative care workers have unique expertise and ultimately have the power to shape uptake of the CCB. As such, their expectations of the CCB contribute valuable knowledge from which relevant policy recommendations can be made.

'Some are more equal than others': economic egalitarianism and welfare chauvinism in the Netherlands

J. van der Waal and others

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 20, 2010, p.350-363

Several studies on deservingness in European countries have found that although lower-educated natives strongly support economic redistribution, they consider ethnic minorities least entitled to welfare benefits. This seems odd, as lower-educated natives support left wing political parties which champion universal redistribution from the rich to the poor, irrespective of ethnicity. This research assessed three competing theories that could account for the observation that lower-educated natives are more likely to combine egalitarianism and welfare chauvinism. The analysis showed that lower-educated Dutch people's limited amount of cultural capital and high level of cultural insecurity were responsible for their attitude rather than lack of political competence or competition for scarce resources among ethnic groups.

Welfare and pay cuts top the list of measures to save 15bn

H. McDonald

The Guardian, Nov. 24th 2010, p. 32

Ireland's embattled government published its four year recovery plan yesterday intended to save the country 15bn (12.7bn) and drive down its national debt. Among the measures introduced to cut the republic's deficit and restore market's confidence is a 3bn cut in social welfare which accounts for one third of day to day spending.

(See also the Independent, Nov. 25th 2010, p. 4)

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