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

The Europeanization of flexicurity: the Lisbon Strategy's impact on employment policies in Italy and Poland

A. Gwiazda

Journal of European Public Policy, vol.18, 2011, p.546-565

Through the Lisbon Strategy flexicurity, denoting flexible working arrangements combined with employment security, active labour market policies and lifelong learning , is now an integral part of EU employment policy. However this article shows that the effects of the EU's Lisbon Strategy on national employment policies are mixed, using Italy and Poland, two countries with similar structural employment problems, as case studies. It resulted in policy transformation during the Prodi government in Italy and the current Tusk government in Poland, but led to policy inertia during the Law and Justice-led government in Poland and policy retrenchment during the current Berlusconi government in Italy. The author demonstrates that significant policy change (transformation) occurs when political parties in power support the EU, while policy inertia (no change) is to be expected when governments are characterised by hard Euroscepticism.

Gender differences in active labour market policy: the Swedish self-employment programme

J. Månsson and L. Delander

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, vol.30, 2011, p. 278-296

This paper aims to investigate whether there are differences in the impacts of active labour market programmes on males and females. One of the most successful active labour market programmes in Sweden, a business start-up subsidy for unemployed persons, is used as a case study. It is concluded that the start-up grant works well for female programme participants. The likelihood of female participants in the start-up programme getting a job was 16% higher than women who entered other labour market programmes and 9% higher than men in other programmes. However, female participants in the start-up scheme were less successful than males.

Increasing poverty in Japan: social policy and public assistance program

M. Inaba

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 5, 2011, p. 79-91

Following the 2008/09 economic crisis, poverty has been deepening in Japan, which had previously been considered a largely middle-class and egalitarian country. Poverty is now widely discussed and visible in Japan, and policymakers have been forced to formulate strategies to help the poor. This paper provides an overview of national income assistance programmes targeting the poor, focusing on Seikatsu Hogo, the main means-tested government poverty relief programme. The programme is described in terms of characteristics of current recipients, and a number of problems associated with it are explored.

The poverty situation in Indonesia: challenges and the progress of the marginalized group

Z.A. Hatta and D.T. Sarkawi

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 5, 2011, p. 92-106

This paper focuses on Indonesian poverty alleviation programmes, with an emphasis on cash transfer schemes targeted on the poorest and most marginalised groups, since these are most likely to be cut in the event of a financial crisis. It starts with a discussion of the impact of the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and the nature of vulnerability facing individuals, households and communities. It goes on to describe and analyse the two cash transfer programmes targeted on poor and marginalised groups: unconditional cash transfers started in 2005 and conditional cash transfers trialled in 2007. The conditional cash transfer programme, known as the Hopeful Family Programme, provided poor families with an allowance conditional on their attention to their children's education and health. Conditional cash transfer is expected to form the basis of the development of a future social security system.

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