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

Child maintenance and child poverty

M. Hakovirta

Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, vol. 19, 2011, p. 249-262

Most OECD countries have formal child maintenance systems that seek to ensure that non-resident parents contribute to the costs of raising their children. This paper analyses the contribution that child maintenance makes to the reduction of child poverty in non-widowed lone parent families in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA. Results show that the contribution that child maintenance makes in reducing overall child poverty is modest. On the other hand, it has a relatively large positive impact in reducing child poverty in families which receive it.

Doing it for the kids: benefits conditionality and leveraging parental behaviour change

E. Crawford

Working Brief, Autumn 2011, p. 24-25

Australia, US states and Latin American countries have been experimenting with using their benefits systems to promote positive behaviour change in recipients, such as good parenting. This has involved attaching conditions to benefits receipt, with sanctions for non-compliance. This article looks at lessons for the UK, with a particular focus on Income Management reforms introduced in Australia. These use benefits conditionality explicitly as a tool to achieve non-employment related positive social outcomes.

Impact of social allowances on the elderly poverty in Taiwan, 2002-2008

J. C.-C. Chuang

Journal of Asian Public Policy, vol. 4, 2011, p. 241-249

Expenditure on social allowances for older people in Taiwan increased from $1.6bn in 2002 to $3bn in 2008. However, this study showed that the significant increase in spending did not have a strong effect on poverty rates among older adults. Moreover, more than half (50.2% on average) of social allowance transfers have been targeted on the non-poor elderly. The findings suggest that significant cost savings could be realised by more effective means testing.

The relative effectiveness of selected active labor market programs: an empirical investigation for Germany

G. Stephan and A. Pahnke

The Manchester School, vol.79, 2011, p. 1262-1293

A number of active labour market programmes aim to support the reintegration of registered unemployed persons into the labour market in Germany, including training and job creation schemes. This study uses German administrative data and statistical matching techniques to compare labour market outcomes of similar participants - identified by propensity score matching - taking up different schemes in March 2003. The outcome variables are cumulated days spent in regular employment during the 3.5 years after programme start as well as the share in regular employment at the end of the observation period. Results show that common support problems may be an issue when conducting cross-programme comparisons; in particular participants in job creation schemes are so different from participants in other programmes that comparisons may not be meaningful. However, participants in shorter training programmes spend more time in employment than those in longer programmes; this is mainly due to less lock-in effects. However, at the end of the observation period, participants in long retraining programmes show the best relative performance.

The town with no poverty: the health effects of a Canadian guaranteed annual income field experiment

E.L. Forget

Canadian Public Policy, vol.37, 2011, p. 283-305

Between 1974 and 1979 a field experiment was conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba in which the entire population of the town received the same offer: a family with no income from other sources would receive 60% of the Statistics Canada low-income cut-off, which varied by family size. Every dollar received from other sources would reduce benefits by 50 cents. This study examined the impact of this Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) experiment using health administration data to determine whether population health had been affected. A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether contacts with the health system declined among subjects who lived in the experimental community relative to a matched comparison group. Results showed that overall hospitalisations, and specifically hospitalisations for accidents and injuries and mental health problems, declined for GAI recipients relative to the comparison group. Physician claims for mental health diagnoses fell for subjects relative to comparators.

Who benefits from early childcare subsidy design in Ireland?

B. O'D. Hynes and N. Hayes

Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, vol. 19, 2011, p. 277-288

The Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) in Ireland is a targeted subsidy designed as a social inclusion measure that aims to benefit welfare recipients. The universal free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (FPSY) is an early education subsidy offering a limited number of free pre-school hours to all children, although this type of scheme is typically not accessed by the most disadvantaged. When looking at how the CCSS compares with the new FPSY scheme, differences emerge in how parents, children and service providers are treated. The designs serve to reinforce stereotypes that enable the powerful and advantaged to accrue benefits while those perceived to be less deserving are burdened through the maldistribution of resources.

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