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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2004): Welfare State - Overseas

ASSESSING WELFARE STATE CHANGE: THE GERMAN SOCIAL INSURANCE STATE BETWEEN RECIPROCITY AND SOLIDARITY

S. Leitner and S. Lessenich

Journal of Public Policy, vol. 23, 2003, p.325-347

Uses an analytic framework based on the distinction between two fundamentally opposed logics of social exchange (reciprocity and solidarity) to explore changes in the German welfare state. Detects changes in two different dimensions:

  • changes in the overall mix of reciprocity-based insurance and solidarity-based assistance programmes;
  • changes in the balance between elements of reciprocity and solidarity within social insurance schemes.

THE POLITICS OF POVERTY: LEFT POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, THE WELFARE STATE AND POVERTY

D. Brady

Social Forces, vol.82, 2003, p.557-588

Analysis demonstrates that left-wing political institutions greatly reduce poverty. They partially combine with, and partially channel through, the welfare state. Voter turnout and the cumulative historical power of parties of the left channel through the welfare state to reduce poverty. The percentage of votes for left-wing parties, the percentage of seats won by left-wing parties, wage co-ordination, neocorporatism, gross union density and employed union density partially combine with, and partially channel through the welfare state to reduce poverty.

PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARDS WELFARE STATE POLICIES: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF 24 NATIONS

M. Bleksaune and J. Quadagno

European Sociological Review, Vol. 19, 2003, p.415-427

The article investigates public attitudes towards the welfare state at both personal and national level. It examines the extent to which national attitudes vary, and whether these variations can be explained by different situational and ideological factors. Over twenty-six thousand people in twenty-four countries were questioned about their views on the welfare state and the responsibilities of government. Results reveal that unemployment drives public opinion - in situations of high unemployment public support for welfare policies is higher. National differences in attitude towards welfare state policies also reflect similar differences in egalitarian ideology. The report concludes that different nations encounter different social problems and that this influences public attitudes towards welfare policies.

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT, WELFARE TRANSFERS AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING ACROSS LOCAL POPULATIONS: DOES A LEAN AND MEAN GOVERNMENT BENEFIT THE MASSES?

L. Lobao and G. Hooks

Social Forces, vol.82, 2003, p.519-556

Study examines the effect of state provision of social security benefits and public sector employment on local economic well-being. Authors derive hypotheses from two competing social policy schools, neoliberal and radical political economy. They assess how claims from both schools of thought operate in practice through an analysis of US county populations for Keynesian (1970-1980) and post-Keynesian decades. Findings do not support neoliberal views that lean and mean government benefits local populations. Rather, the economic well-being of the population at large declines where social programmes are less generous to poor residents.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE POLITICS OF COMMUNITY

C. Everingham

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003

This books frames the current social policy debates within the context of globalization and the accompanying shift in focus of social policy from issues of social justice to questions of social order. It identifies 'the community' as both the site of today's social problems and the main tool that governments have at their disposal to address these problems. This portrayal of 'the community' is both theorized and illustrated with empirical material drawn from the Australian experience of community action.

SWISS WORLDS OF WELFARE

K. Armingeon, F. Bertozzi and G. Bonoli

West European Politics, vol.27, 2004, p.20-44

Research shows large inter-cantonal variation in welfare state policies. Socio-economic variables, especially urbanisation, are shown to be the major force shaping social welfare policies. In the field of taxation, direct democracy is an important force shaping the cantonal tax regime. In education, left wing political parties support expansion of the system. The left and direct democracy also influence the social security regime.

WELFARE REGIMES AND THE NORMS OF SOCIAL EXCHANGE

S. Mau

Current Sociology, vol.52, 2004, p.53-74

Article addresses the question of why people support welfare state institutions that pool social risks and redistribute resources between social groups. It proposes the concept of reciprocity as providing a good understanding of why people support or oppose redistributive policies. Welfare state transfers are conceived as bilateral relationships between the giver and the recipient wherein reciprocal expectations need to be satisfied in order to preserve people's willingness to contribute to the common good. In welfare-related situations, people tend to be generous if they assume that certain reciprocal duties are fulfilled by recipients.

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