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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2000): Welfare State - Overseas

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE WELFARE STATE

M. Ferrera and M. Rhodes

West European Politics, vol.23, Apr. 2000, p.256-282

Argues that the process of welfare state reform involves a number of dimensions of change in response to a largely domestically generated set of pressures. To the extent that external constraints are important, they do not render impossible diverse institutional and normative designs for the welfare state. In the European context, reconciling economic growth and social cohesion remains a feasible objective, even if achieving that goal will require resetting old instruments, introducing substantial innovations and changing in some respects the objectives of welfare states.

"DEFROSTING" THE FRENCH WELFARE STATE

B. Palier

West European Politics, vol.23, Apr. 2000, p.113-136

Offers an analysis of the first governmental reactions to social security deficits in the 1970s and 1980s, which implied no real change in the French system. Then focuses on the sectoral reforms of the 1990s, which introduced limited retrenchment. Shows how, because of the limitations of these two kinds of reform, the welfare system has been perceived as not only a victim but also as a cause of economic and social problems. This new perception explains the occurrence of structural reforms implying a change of instruments and goals in some parts of the system.

THE EMPLOYMENT CRISIS OF THE GERMAN WELFARE STATE

P. Manow and E. Seils

West European Politics, vol.23, Apr. 2000, p.137-160

In periods of recession, the independent German Central Bank forces the government to observe fiscal discipline. In order to reduce public expenditure, government then shifts welfare costs on to the social insurance funds. On the other hand, employers and unions limit labour supply through early retirement schemes supported by the social insurance funds. These processes lead to increased non-wage labour costs in the form of higher contributions to the social insurance funds. This, in turn, contributes to the problem of unemployment.

THE END OF THE WELFARE STATE: RESPONSES TO STATE RETRENCHMENT

S. Svallfors and P. Taylor-Gooby (editors)

London: Routledge, 1999

Throughout the world, politicians from all the main parties are cutting back on welfare provision, encouraging use of the private sector and developing increasingly stringent techniques for surveillance of the poor. Book presents findings from recent attitude surveys in Eastern and Western Europe, the US and Australasia. It shows that, contrary to the claims of many experts, the welfare state is still highly popular with the citizens of most countries.

FROM MODEST RIGHTS TO COMMODIFICATION IN CANADA'S WELFARE STATE

E.S. Lightman and G. Riches

European Journal of Social Work, vol.3, 2000, p.179-190

The paper examines the rise and decline of Canada's welfare state from 1945 to the end of the century. The years to the mid-1960s were marked by the introduction of an array of social programmes which gave 'modest social rights' to Canada's residents, whilst not fundamentally challenging the market base of the society. Since 1971 various economic and political changes have resulted in an increasing commodification of social benefits within a market context. The paper explores benefits for children and the right to food as case illustrations of these fundamental changes.

PARTISAN GOVERNANCE, WOMEN'S EMPLOYMENT AND THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC SERVICE STATE

E. Huber and J.D. Stephens

American Sociological Review, vol.65, 2000, p.323-342

Concludes that public delivery of a wide range of welfare services is the most distinctive feature of the social democratic welfare state, and that this feature is a product of the direct and interactive effects of social democracy and women's labour market participation.

THE SCANDINAVIAN WELFARE STATE IN THE 1990S: CHALLENGED BUT VIABLE

S. Kuhnle

West European Politics, vol.23, Apr. 2000, p.209-228

Despite some significant economic problems, especially at the beginning of the 1990s in Sweden and Finland, Scandinavian countries have fundamentally maintained, and even to some extent strengthened, their welfare states during the last decade. Economic rather than ideological factors drove reforms, and state provision of welfare services was fundamentally preserved.

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