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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2002): Social Security - Overseas

CHANGING PRINCIPLES IN EUROPEAN SOCIAL SECURITY

J. Clasen and W. van Oorschot

European Journal of Social Security, vol. 4, 2002, p. 89-115

Article begins by clarifying the three principles of redistributive justice that underpin social security schemes in modern welfare states: need, equity and equality. To detect trends in the application of these principles in European social security systems, two types of indicator were developed, one embodying a volume perspective and one a legal perspective. Results of applying these indicators show that there is no cross-national trend towards squeezing reciprocity-based social insurance, but that a convergence is under way between erstwhile strong (Bismarckian) and weak (Beveridgean) principled programmes. A clear trend towards needs-based social security can be identified within the "legal" but not within the "volume" perspective. This is due to both policy changes and favourable labour market conditions. Finally discusses the divergent trends shown by the British and Dutch Systems.

CRITICAL JUNCTURES, LABOUR MOVEMENTS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL WELFARE IN ISRAEL

J. Gal and D. Bargal

Social Problems, vol. 49, 2002, p. 432-454

Article draws on a variety of primary and secondary data and two theoretical models, power resources and path dependency, in order to analyse the emergence of occupational welfare in the Israeli welfare state. It seeks to understand why the role of occupational welfare in Israel is so formidable and to examine the implications of this. During the 1950s the Israeli labour movement brought about the establishment of an extensive system of occupational welfare and a pension system for the elderly based upon low universal state benefits. The legacy of these systems is still evident in the contemporary Israeli welfare state.

DOES IT PAY TO MOVE FROM WELFARE TO WORK?

S. Danziger and others

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 21, 2002, p. 671-692

Article demonstrates that following the 1996 US welfare reform, it does pay to move off welfare into work. Paper analyses data from a panel survey of single mothers, all of whom received welfare in February 1997. In 1999, those who were working had a higher household income and lower poverty rate, experienced a similar level of material hardship, engaged in fewer expedients to make ends meet, and had lower expectations of experiencing hardship in the near future than did unemployed welfare recipients.

EFFECT OF CHILD SUPPORT ON WELFARE EXITS AND RE-ENTRIES

C.C. Huang, J. Kunz and I. Garfinkel

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 21, 2002, p. 557-576

Paper uses the 1979-1996 US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine whether child support affects the likelihood of leaving and re-entering welfare. Results indicate that strong child support enforcement is important in helping young mothers leave and stay off welfare. Women with $1000 child support payments in the previous year were 18% more likely to exit welfare and 12% less likely to re-enter welfare Women in states that had passed extensive child support enforcement legislation and spent more money on child support enforcement were 79% more likely to leave welfare and about 60% less likely to re-enter it.

HARTZ COMMISSION ISSUES LABOUR MARKET PROPOSALS

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, issue 344, p. 18-20

Summarises proposals in the final report of the Hartz commission for the reform of the Federal Employment Service and Social Security benefits in Germany. The main goal of the proposed reforms is to halve unemployment by 2005.

INCENTIVES, CHALLENGES AND DILEMMAS OF TANF: A CASE STUDY

B. L. Wolfe

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 21, 2002, p. 577-586

The 1996 welfare reform in the USA has led to an increase in work compared to the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children. However, high marginal tax rates (MTRs) and work-effort disincentives continue to be relevant under the new Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. High MTRs under the new system discourage people on low incomes from working harder or longer.

JAPAN'S NEVER-ENDING SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS

N. Takayama

International Social Security Review, vol. 55, no. 4, 2002, p. 11-22

Examines the cost projections for social security schemes in Japan, one of the most rapidly ageing societies in the world. The costs, which include old age pensions, healthcare and long-term care of older people, are likely to rise dramatically unless fundamental reforms are undertaken. As the current system is highly favourable to the politically powerful group comprising the elderly and near-elderly population, fundamental reform is unlikely to occur. Instead, frequent fine-tuning of the existing system is predicted.

OPERATING WITHIN THE RULES: WELFARE RECIPIENTS' EXPERIENCES WITH SANCTIONS AND CASE CLOSINGS

A. J. Cherlin and others

Social Service Review, vol. 76, 2002, p. 387-405

Article examines the experience of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients with sanctions and administrative case closures as reported by respondents in a survey of low-income families in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. The most common causes of imposition of sanctions were missing appointments or not filing paperwork. Families sanctioned were more disadvantaged than other welfare recipients in a number of respects, including lower education and poorer health.

PARTICIPATION AND OPPORTUNITY: REDEFINING SOCIAL SECURITY IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

D. Mitchell

International Social Security Review, vol. 55, no.4, 2002, p. 127-142

Recent social security reforms in Australia and New Zealand are designed to reorient systems away from passive towards active income support mechanisms throughout the lifetime, particularly in tackling poverty traps and work disincentive effects. The focus is not solely on old age, but on mutual obligation and responsibility between the state and the citizen. These reforms will require considerable changes in mind set on the part of both individuals and governmental organisations, as well as initial investments.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CHINA'S SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS

Y. Zhu

International Social Security Review, vol. 55, no. 4, 2002, p. 39-54

China is one of the few developing countries to have established a comprehensive social security system encompassing social insurance (for pensions, medical care, unemployment benefit, industrial injuries compensation and maternity benefit), social assistance and a housing provident fund. Article highlights the latest developments in each of the schemes and offers some insight into the problems confronting the system and the prospects for reform.

TRENDS OF POVERTY AND INCOME INEQUALITY IN CROSS-NATIONAL COMPARISON

V. -M. Ritakallio

European Journal of Social Security, vol. 4, 2002, p. 151-177

Research shows that the effectiveness of benefits systems varies significantly across countries and the different models of social policy they adhere to. The USA was shown to have the highest poverty rate, the worst income inequality, and the least effective redistribution system. The Nordic countries on the other hand have responded to the danger of polarisation in such a way that income inequality has hardly increased at all. The situation in the UK, Canada, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands has varied according to the social security regime in force at the time.

UNEMPLOYMENT TRAPS: DO FINANICAL DISINCENTIVES MATTERS?

P. J. Pedersen and N. Smith

European Sociological Review, vol. 18, 2002, p. 271-288

Paper analyses the importance of financial disincentives for workers in Denmark. Based on a panel survey which is merged to a number of administrative registers it is possible to calculate precise measures of the economic incentives for labour force participants between employment in a full time job and being on unemployment benefits, taking into account the fixed costs of work. Results indicate large disincentive effects for some groups, especially low paid women. In 1996, 6% of men and 13% of women were worse off in a full-time job than on unemployment benefit.

WELFARE REFORM AND FUTURE CHALLENGES IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA: BEYOND THE DEVELOPMENTAL WELFARE STATE?

Huck-ju Kwon

International Social Security Review, vol. 55, no. 4, 2002, p. 23-38

Following the economic crisis of 1997, Korea has moved from welfare developmentalism to extending the coverage of its National Pension Programme to the whole population and has strengthened its financial sustainability and accountability. Reforms to enhance the efficiency of the National Health Insurance Programmes have also been carried out, although here financial sustainability remains a challenge. Argues that in future, pension coverage will need to address the needs of workers with an irregular employer-employee relationship.

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