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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): Social Security - Overseas

ENDING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: THE TRANSFORMATION OF US PUBLIC ASSISTANCE POLICY INTO LABOUR POLICY

H. J. Karger

Critical Social Policy, vol. 32, 2003, p.383-401

Traces the transformation of US public assistance policy from 1967 when amendments to Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) pressured recipient mothers into working. The process culminated in the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which comprised labour policy clothed in welfare terminology. Article concludes by proposing measures to promote enduring labour force attachment and ease welfare recipients back into steady jobs. These include a national health insurance scheme for low-paid workers, raising the minimum wage and the introduction of government funded portable benefits packages.

METROPOLITAN INEQUITIES AND THE ECOLOGY OF WORK: IMPLICATIONS FOR WELFARE REFORM

C.J. Coulton

Social Service Review, vol.77, 2003, p.159-190

Inequities within cities, metropolitan labour markets and neighbourhoods are an important context for understanding the effects of welfare reform and for promoting the welfare-to-work transition. Many US welfare recipients live in areas that are socially and geographically distant from job opportunities. Their chances of moving to better locations are low. These multiple contexts can adversely affect people's chances of employment, wage growth and occupational mobility. They also hinder recipients' ability to manage the competing demands of home and work.

THE NEW WELFARE: UNEMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY IN EUROPE

M. Baldassarri

Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003

Two of the major concerns facing Europe are the issues of unemployment and the financing of the public pension system. This book examines issues relating to unemployment and social security in Europe, focusing on how to promote employment and how to reform social security systems. Unemployment throughout the European Union is analysed together with employment performance and policies aimed at reducing unemployment. The financing of public pension systems is also addressed, including examinations of the British Welfare System and of the politically difficult solution of a more fully-funded system throughout Europe.

PAID TO CARE: THE ORIGINS AND EFFECTS OF CARE LEAVE POLICIES IN WESTERN EUROPE

K.J. Morgan and K. Zippel

Social Politics, vol.10, 2003, p.49-85

A number of West European countries have adopted paid parental leave policies. Article examines the origins and consequences of such policies. Finds that they are a product of centre-right political forces rather than part of a feminist project to promote gender equality. Benefits offered are too low to attract men and seem designed to avoid public investment in child care services rather than to assist working mothers. They also lead to women withdrawing from the labour market at a time of growing job insecurity with adverse consequences for their future careers, since they often return to part-time or temporary work.

SOCIAL CITIZENSHIP AND WORKFARE IN THE US AND WESTERN EUROPE: FROM STATUS TO CONTRACT

J.F. Handler

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.13, 2003, p.229-243

One of the objectives of welfare-to-work programmes in the USA and Western Europe is to re-integrate the socially excluded into full citizenship by giving them access to paid work. Article argues that workfare schemes consistently fail to help the most vulnerable and excluded. Solutions proposed include creation of flexible labour markets, abandonment of sanctions on workfare clients, and stronger incentives for programme staff to place clients in jobs.

UNEMPLOYMENT PROTECTION AND LABOUR MARKET REFORM IN FRANCE AND GREAT BRITAIN IN THE 1990s: SOLIDARITY VERSUS ACTIVISM?

J.Clasen and D. Clegg

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 32, 2003, p.361-381

Suggests that scholars have been mistaken in interpreting British and French unemployment policy in the 1990s as a simple opposition between UK individualism and workfare and Gallic solidarity and "social treatment of unemployment". Instead, it can be argued that Britain and France have both moved towards an unemployment policy based on activation, but in forms that reflect, to a great extent, different political incentive structures.

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