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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2011): Social security - overseas

The European Social Fund and domestic activation policies: Europeanization mechanisms

G. Verschraegen, B. Vanhercke, and R. Verpoorten

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 21, 2011, p. 55-72

In the current European Union employment governance setting, the European Social Fund's principal objective is to provide financial support for activities undertaken within the framework of the European Employment Strategy to realise common objectives such as raising employment rates, preventing long-term unemployment and stimulating equal opportunities. This analysis illustrates that even modest ESF funding can work as a driver of significant domestic policy shifts. It is argued that in the case of Belgian domestic activation policies, the ESF has had a catalytic impact on the innovation of activation instruments, the governance of employment policies and policy framing. These effects are clarified and explained by tracing three different mechanisms through which the ESF operates: leverage created by use of the ESF by policy entrepreneurs, aid conditionality and policy learning.

The poverty reduction success of public transfers for working age immigrants and refugees in the United States

C.R. Bollinger and P. Hagstrom

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol.29, 2011, p. 191-206

Since the implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, immigrants in general have had diminished access to the US welfare system, although refugees are exempted from the participation restrictions. This paper investigates the impact of welfare reform on poverty measures for families headed by working age immigrants and refugees relative to the native born. Results show that poverty reduction among immigrants and refugees in the 1990s was due to the favourable economic conditions and strong economic growth seen at that time. The welfare reform policies appear to have had little differential impact on immigrants or refugees.

Who are the lucky ones? Heterogeneity in active labour market policy outcomes

M. Nordlund

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.20, 2011, p. 144-155

There are two main types of active labour market programme (ALMP) in Sweden: 1) investment in education and training and 2) provision of work experience and work placements. It is assumed in this research that these two programmes will generate different effects depending on the characteristics of the participants. While some individuals may be wasting their time on active labour market programmes, others may benefit. This study examined the long-term effects of the two different types of ALMP on 50,000 Swedes who entered unemployment in 1993. Outcomes were measured as the chance of labour market inclusion, labour market stability and post-unemployment incomes. While the youngest gained most from training, the oldest were best helped by work placements which reduced the risk of labour market exit. The lowest educated gained much from ALMP participation, although the effects were weaker than expected; the more educated gained more in terms of labour market stability from training schemes compared with less educated people.

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