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

Becoming public: notes on governance and local welfare in Italy

L. Bifulco

Administration and Society, vol. 43, 2011, p. 301-318

In European countries the role of the state is being transformed from command and control, implying its dominance in service provision, to a role of enabling, enhancing the potential for social self-organisation. As the areas of intervention traditionally the responsibility of the state gradually become spaces of mobilisation for a plurality of actors, the notion of ‘public’ becomes problematic: it is difficult to define what distinguishes the structures of governance, the actors involved, and the problems and interests treated as being of a public nature. The article focuses on some of the problems raised by this transformation, paying particular attention to social policies in Italy.

Changing care regime for children and elderly: the East Asia experience

R.K.H. Chan (guest editor)

Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, vol. 27, 2011, p. 111-186

This special issue focuses on the changing care regimes for children and older people in the East Asian societies of China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. As a result of dramatic changes in family structures and behaviours, each society has been struggling to reform its care regimes. For each society, the research examined who cares for children and older people, and how care is delivered. Three main indices were used to illustrate trends in social care: welfare mix in the provision of social care; the types of services offered, including cash benefits and maternal, paternal and long-term care giving leave; and trends in the division of social care in the family.

Determinants of welfare policy attitudes: a contextual level analysis

K.S. Abner

Sociological Spectrum, vol. 31, 2011, p. 466-497

Public attitudes towards the poor and welfare policy can have real consequences in the USA as they drive political action and voting patterns. Using the 2008 Chicago Area Study, this study tests how residential context plays a role in welfare policy attitudes, while controlling for individual level characteristics (education, income, political party, employment status, age, gender and race). The results confirm that respondents’ neighbourhood context, in terms of racial demographics and public assistance use, was significant for the prediction of welfare policy attitudes in Chicago. The hypothesis that residents of neighbourhoods with a higher percentage of African Americans would be more likely to endorse more generous welfare policies was supported. In addition, an interaction effect was found between individual level income and household public assistance use in the ZIP code. Lower-income respondents in neighbourhoods with higher household public assistance use were more likely to have positive attitudes to welfare than their better-off neighbours, but were less likely to participate in the political process. In contrast, higher-income respondents in areas with lower public assistance use are more likely to have positive attitudes towards welfare than their lower-income neighbours.

[Impacts of financial crisis on social policy in Greater China]

K.H. Mok (editor) Journal of Asian Public Policy, vol. 4, 2011, p. 1-120

The articles in this special issue examine how social security policies have been affected by global economic change and/or regional and global financial crises in three Chinese societies: mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Articles cover pension reforms and old-age insurance for rural-urban migrant workers in China, the impact of the global economic downturn on small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees in China, the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008/09 on the labour market in Taiwan, the effects of the financial crisis of the late 1990s on social policy and welfare provision in Hong Kong, and the impact of the financialisation of Hong Kong’s economy on social protection.

Is the state social or the computer inhuman? Claims for state support and citizenship in post-socialist Georgia

T. Mataradze

Citizenship Studies, vol. 15, 2011, p. 471-484

In the Soviet era, in Georgia the state provided a full range of social rights, including jobs, pensions, education and free medical care. Since the fall of communism, the free-market economy and the privatisation process have not changed citizens’ expectations of the state. However, the state is no longer able to fulfil these expectations and its social policy is to provide state help only to the poorest as identified by an evaluation system. In the village of Sats’ire, citizens’ expectations of the state based on the memory of Soviet practices and general economic insecurity following the collapse of communism led the majority of the population to apply for social assistance regardless of their financial situation.

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