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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2011): Welfare state - overseas

Beyond welfare state models: transnational historical perspectives on social policy

P. Kettunen and K. Petersen (editors)

Cheltenham: Elgar, 2011

This book escapes the straightjacket of conventional welfare state models and challenges the existing literature in two ways. Firstly the contributors argue that the standard typologies have omitted important aspects of welfare state development. Secondly, the work develops and underlines the importance of a more fluid transnational conceptualisation. As this book shows, welfare states are not created in national isolation but are heavily influenced by transnational economic, political and cultural interdependencies. The authors illustrate these important points of criticism with their studies on the transnational history of social policy, religion and the welfare state, Nordic cooperation within the fields of social policy and marriage law, and the transnational contexts of national family policies. This fascinating work contributes to the understanding of the current changes in welfare states by discussing the relationship between globalized capitalism and social political regulations and by arguing that transnational transformations importantly take place within and between nation states.

Globalisation, integration and the future of European welfare states

T-H. Gizelis

Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010

This book argues that the welfare state cannot be understood purely as a set of social policy arrangements, but must be seen as a political institution, intended to achieve certain political objectives. The political dimension of the welfare state is essential for understanding its initial emergence as well as assessing its ability to deal with contemporary challenges. Governments use welfare transfers to decrease the risk of political instability that may be politically disruptive and threaten to undermine social cohesion. The success of welfare institutions stems from their ability to foster a redistribution of resources and political consensus that has enabled long-term political stability and economic development. The book develops a general model that looks at the interactive effects between welfare transfers, political instability and state capacity. It provides a unique theoretical contribution to the study of welfare spending in the context of globalisation and integration, analyses the key political rationale for welfare programmes, namely their role in preserving social cohesion and governance, and demonstrates clearly that welfare policies can be successfully adapted to meet new challenges and that retrenchment of the welfare state is not inevitable, using Scandinavia as a leading example of modern policies.

The politics of social policy in America: the causes and effects of indirect versus direct social spending

C. Faricy

Journal of Politics, vol.73, 2011, p. 74-83

The Democratic and Republican parties have fundamentally different preferences for social spending. Extant research reveals a consistent relationship across time between Democratic Party control of government and higher levels of domestic spending, especially on social programmes. Contrary to this received wisdom, the author demonstrates that the relationship between Democratic Party control and higher levels of aggregate social spending is inconclusive. Although the parties are comparable in total social expenditure, Republic Party control results in higher levels of indirect versus direct social spending that finances private organisations and regressively redistributes incomes.

Sarkozy makes populist play for welfare in country that still cares

P. Toynbee

The Guardian, Mar. 23rd 2011, p. 24

Polly Toynbee reports from Paris, where President Sarkozy has made a striking promise to create a 'new branch of the welfare state' to provide care for the elderly and the disabled. France has 1.1 million dependant old people; their number is expected to grow so that by the middle of the century the number of over 80s could reach 5 million.

Scheduled tribes and the politics of inclusion in India

J. Ambagudia

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 5, 2011, p. 33-43

This paper traces the development of government policy towards tribal peoples in India. Under the Raj, the British adopted a policy of isolation and tried to keep tribal people away from the mainstream of Indian life. Post-independence, Prime Minister Nehru adopted policies aiming to integrate the tribal population with mainstream society. Currently, in the name of extending welfare projects and affirmative action to tribal people, a rapacious state is legitimising its control over tribal resources.

Social policy formulation and the role of professionals: the involvement of social workers in parliamentary committees in Israel

J. Gal and I. Weiss-Gal

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 19, 2011, p. 158-167

This article seeks to shed light on welfare governance by exploring the role of professionals in the social policy formulation process through a study of the involvement of social workers in parliamentary committees in Israel. Data were gathered through a quantitative content analysis of parliamentary committee minutes from 1999 to 2006. The findings indicate that social workers participated in 13% of the deliberations of parliamentary committees concerning diverse social policy and social care issues, and that two-thirds of these participants were affiliated with non-profit organisations and local government. It is concluded that policy practice is an integral part of social work practice for at least some of the members of this profession in Israel.

Social policy in Singapore: insights from a social work perspective

K. Brydon

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 5, 2011, p. 20-32

Social policy involves the state in securing some basic level of welfare for its citizens as well as ensuring the maintenance of social control. Singapore rejects a Western-style welfare state and the policy rhetoric denies the presence of such a thing. However, while there is an absence of social security and minimal unemployment protection, the Singaporean government has programmes which meet the basic needs of its citizens in the areas of education, healthcare, housing and retirement. It has done so despite low levels of expenditure on social welfare.

Social volunteering in welfare states: where crowding out should occur

I. Stadelmann-Steffen

Political Studies, vol. 59, 2011, p. 135-155

This article explores the influence of welfare state policy on individuals' willingness to volunteer. The analyses provide support for the crowding out hypothesis: individual volunteering is lower in extensive welfare states than it is in countries that spend less on provision. However, when group-specific effects of welfare states are modelled, results show that extensive welfare state support reduces the negative effects of poverty on volunteering. Crowding out and crowding in thus go hand in hand: while state activities do serve as a substitute for volunteering in some areas, in others they are found to have a stimulating effect.

Welfare state regimes and reforms: a classification of ten European countries between 1990 and 2006

M. Arcanjo

Social Policy and Society, vol. 10, 2011, p. 139-150

From the beginning of the 1990s, almost all European countries have introduced wide reaching welfare state reforms, including in eligibility, entitlement, benefits structures and sources of finance. It is argued that these reforms may have brought about a repositioning of some countries in empirically identified welfare state clusters. In order to test this hypothesis, the bi-dimensional classifications of Bonoli (1997) and Kautto (2002) are applied to ten countries representing different welfare regimes. The results reposition some countries in different clusters, specifically Portugal, the UK and Sweden.

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