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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2003): Welfare State - Overseas

ADAPTATION TO LABOUR MARKET CHANGE IN FRANCE AND THE UK: CONVERGENT OR PARALLEL TRACKS?

A. Daguerre and P. Taylor-Gooby

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 37, 2003, p.625-638

European welfare states are under pressure from changes within the labour market and family, as well as ageing populations and globalisation. It has been hypothesised that welfare states converge as they face similar pressures, and the article examines the contrasting welfare states of France and the UK to investigate this. It considers the problem of unemployment in both countries before exploring their different attitudes towards childcare and women's participation in paid work. The article concludes that although both countries acknowledge similar pressures, their proposed reforms to solve the problems are very different.

THE ADJUSTMENT PATH OF THE AUSTRIAN WELFARE STATE: BACK TO BISMARCK?

B. Unger and K. Heitzmann

Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 13 2003, p. 371-387

Traditionally there are seen to be three categories of welfare states - social democratic, liberal and conservative. This paper examines the conservative welfare state favoured by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and, more specifically, the Austrian interpretation of it. The challenges and crises hitting most welfare states from the 1970s are examined, as well as Austria's position within this. Reform specific to the Austrian model is then described. The paper concludes by summarising the effect that this reform has had on the Austrian welfare state.

CONVERGENCE IN THE SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEMS IN EUROPE: FROM GOAL TO REALITY

D. Bouget

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 37, 2003, p.674-693

The paper examines the quantitative evaluation of convergence among the EU and OECD countries at the macro-economic level. It explains the construction of social indicators to assess the convergence or divergence of social expenditure in EU and OECD countries before examining the ambiguous evidence of convergence. Finally it demonstrates that analysis of social expenditure and the link with economic development can enhance the analysis of convergence in social protection. The paper concludes that convergence in social expenditure does not change the traditional distinction between the regimes of social protection.

DYNAMICS OF SOCIAL ASSISTANCE: THE NORWEGIAN EXPERIENCE IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

E. Dahl and T. Lorentzen

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 12, 2003 p. 289-301

The study attempts to investigate how long Norwegian recipients of social benefit continue to claim assistance and to measure the factors influencing this. Data was collected during an eight-year period from 1992-1999 and included material from 155,000 individuals receiving benefits. Analysis of this data revealed that there wasn't a simple answer to the question and that it depended on a number of factors, including the sample selected, survey design and the number of spells on benefit counted. Duration times varied from two to forty months, but this figure could vary significantly depending on the number of spells taken into account. The study did find that very few recipients (5%) remain on benefits for a year or more and that "welfare dependency" is largely a myth. However, having a number of "spells" of being on benefits was not uncommon. In order to explain this it is necessary to determine what clients do for a living when they leave social assistance. The study concludes that as there isn't an adequate answer to the question analysts of social assistance dynamics must carefully specify their sample, design and spells counted.

IMMIGRANT HOUSEHOLDS AND HARDSHIPS AFTER WELFARE REFORM: A CASE STUDY OF THE MIAMI-DADE HAITIAN COMMUNITY

P. Kretsedemas

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 12, No. 4, October 2003 p. 314-225

The 1996 Welfare Reform Act subjected immigrants to a new set of service restrictions, leading to a steep decline in their accessing of welfare services. The article examines its effect on Haitian immigrants through interviews with Haitian service professionals and surveys of Haitian immigrant households. It discovered that many Haitians are not enrolled for government services, despite suffering hardship and qualifying for benefits. It also revealed that qualified immigrants living in a household with unqualified immigrants were less likely to access welfare services, and thus experience hardship, due to fears that it may adversely affect their unqualified loved ones. The report concludes that it is necessary to use a household unit of measure in assessing immigrant enrolments and hardships.

INCIDENCE AND INTENSITY OF SMOOTHED INCOME POVERTY IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

B. Kuchler and J. Goebel

Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 13, 2003, p.357-369

The paper combines the N-Times poor and the smooth income approach to obtain a comprehensive portrayal of poverty covering the different dimensions of poverty - poverty incidence, poverty gap, poverty intensity and durability of poverty. The results show the importance of developing a more differentiated perspective on poverty.

MENDING NETS IN THE SOUTH: ANTI-POVERTY POLICIES IN GREECE, ITALY, PORTUGAL AND SPAIN

M. Matsaganis and others

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 37, 2003, p.639-665

Although the reform of the welfare state is a bitterly contested issue, the focus has been on pensions and other core issues. Social assistance has been largely neglected by policy makers and analysts, despite the forces that drive welfare reform increasing the importance of social assistance within the welfare state as a whole. The article seeks to begin to redress the balance by examining the anti-poverty policies in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It explores the constraints on creating effective safety nets in southern Europe before summarising each country's policy innovations. The paper concludes that despite some progress, the social safety net in southern Europe remains frail.

MONITORING SOCIAL INCLUSION IN EUROPE'S REGIONS

K. Stewart

Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 13, 2003, p. 335-356

In March 2001, the European Council declared that the number of individuals living in poverty and social exclusion in Europe was unacceptable and introduced a list of target indicators to tackle the problem. However, despite regional breakdowns being called for in a commissioned report, these indicators are only measured nationally. The article argues that this is a mistake, stating that an understanding of where deprivation is concentrated is important in the formulation of a targeted policy and that seeing regional differences can help shape preventative policies. Indicators measuring poverty, health and education and unemployment are examined, revealing that different regions have problems in different areas. The article concludes that there is a lack of data available at regional level, despite agreements by the European Council to collect better data on poverty and social exclusion in Europe.

THE POLITICS OF SOCIAL RISK

I. Mares

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003

The book provides an evaluation of the role played by business in the development of the modern welfare state.:

  • when and why have employers supported the development of institutions of social insurance that provide benefits to workers encountering various employment-related risks?
  • what factors explain the variation in the social policy preferences of employers?
  • what is the relative importance of business and labour-based organisations in the negotiation of a new social policy?

This book studies these questions by examining the role played by German and French producers in eight social policy reforms spanning a century of social development. The analysis demonstrates that major social policies were supported by cross-class alliances comprising labour-based organisations and key sectors of the business community.

PRESSURES ON STATE WELFARE IN POST-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES: IS MORE OR LESS BETTER?

M. Meier Jaeger and J. Kvist

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 37, 2003, p.555-572

It is commonplace today to argue that the welfare state is constantly adapting to economic, political and social pressures in post-industrial societies. This article challenges this view, saying that some of the perceived pressures have little, if any impact on the welfare state, largely because social needs have become so diverse. It goes on to argue that most of the contemporary pressures on post-industrial societies do not relate to the welfare state per se but to post-industrial societies more specifically. The article begins by giving a short history of welfare state pressures before giving a detailed summary of the specific problems facing welfare states including ageing populations and shorter working lives. It concludes that changes in society call for more rather than less state welfare and that new types of welfare states may be needed in a post-industrial society,

STATE FISCAL RESPONSES TO WELFARE REFORM DURING RECESSIONS: LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE

H. Chernick and A. Reschovsky

Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2003, p. 3-21

The 1996 welfare reform in the USA transformed open-ended matching grants to states from the federal government into fixed block grants. The article considers whether, given the new funding regime, states will be able and willing to meet the need for public assistance during recessions. While the new fiscal rules promoted positive reform during a period of economic prosperity, they may be leaving states and their most vulnerable citizens at serious risk if the present economic slowdown continues.

WELFARE REFORM FROM THE INSIDE OUT: IMPLEMENTING THE MISSOURI FAMILIES' MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY PLAN

S. W. Bishop

Administration and Society, Vol. 35, 2003, p.597-628

The study examines the State of Missouri's experience with reforming its welfare system using a multi-perspective framework as a basis for understanding the implementation process and identifies the types of problem that arise when massive policy changes are implemented by a state agency. In this case, failure of management to clearly and consistently communicate policy goals and their inability to foster co-ordination and co-operation within the organisation left service deliverers in a position of interpreting welfare reform on their own.

WESTERN EUROPEAN WELFARE STATES IN THE 20TH CENTURY: CONVERGENCES AND DIVERGENCES IN A LONG RUN PERSPECTIVE

B. Tomka

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 12, 2003 p. 249-260

The article examines the development of welfare systems in Western Europe between 1918 and 1990, with particular note of the similarities and differences between countries. It compares welfare expenditures, the relative importance of welfare institutions and the characteristics of welfare rights in Western European countries. The study concludes that despite huge differences in the welfare systems in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, moves towards convergence in the 1950's mean that although there are differences between welfare systems today, the principles surrounding them are comparable.

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