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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2004): Social Security - Overseas

BASIC INCOME: A SIMPLE AND POWERFUL IDEA FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

P. van Parijs

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.7-39

A basic income is an income paid by the state to all citizens on an individual basis without means test or work requirement. Citizens can top it up with income from other sources. Article presents the case for a basic income as a strategy against poverty and unemployment, examines its affordability, and discusses the most promising steps towards it in developing and developed countries.

BASIC INCOME, STAKEHOLDER GRANTS AND CLASS ANALYSIS

E.O. Wright

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.79-87

Analyses universal basic income and stakeholder grants from a Marxist perspective. Stakeholder grants make it easier for individuals to become self-employed and so escape from the clutches of capitalists. A generous universal basic income would enable workers to leave the labour market altogether by guaranteeing each individual a decent standard of living.

THE CITIZEN'S STAKE AND PATERNALISM

S. White

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.61-78

There is a danger that young citizens would waste any capital grant or lump sum given them by the state. Article proposes two responses to this risk:

  • introduction of asset management education;
  • imposition of restrictions on how grants could be used.

DEMOCRATIZING CITIZENSHIP: SOME ADVANTAGES OF A BASIC INCOME

C. Pateman

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.89-105

Writing from a feminist viewpoint, author argues that a universal basic income would give citizens the freedom not to enter paid employment. It would also reduce wives' dependence on male breadwinners and alter the balance of power in marriage.

FROM CONTROLLING TO CONSTRUCTIVE: YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT POLICY IN AUSTRALIA AND THE NETHERLANDS

F. Meijers and K. Te Riele

Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 33, 2004, p.3-25

The article compares approaches to tackling youth unemployment in Australia and the Netherlands. It finds that youth unemployment is lower in the Netherlands thanks to the large-scale creation of subsidised jobs. More young people make a successful transition to regular work or further education from the Dutch guaranteed employment scheme than from the various mutual obligation programmes in Australia, such as Work for the Dole. The Dutch programme is delivered through an integrated government service, while Australian projects are run by a range of private contractors. As a result the Dutch programme offers much more continuity and coherence than the Australian approach. Both countries however rely on coercion through financial penalties to secure the compliance of young people.

HELPING FAMILIES TOWARD THE GOAL OF SELF SUPPORT: MONTANA'S EDUFAIM PROGRAM

S. F. Duncan and others

Families in Society, Vol. 84, 2003, p. 213-222

Educating Families to Achieve Independence in Montana (EDUFAIM) was developed in 1994 to help families coming off welfare gain life skills and achieve economic independence. The article describes the development and implementation of the programme and evaluates its success in several areas including the effectiveness of its educational materials and teaching strategies and its success in empowering participants for employment. The limitations of the programme, including client attrition, are also discussed.

INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SICKNESS CASH-BENEFIT PROGRAMMES IN 18 OECD COUNTRIES

O. Kangas

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 38, 2004, p. 190-203

Article begins with a historical study of the comparative generosity and coverage of sickness benefits in the 18 countries studied. Then analyses the extent to which sickness benefits have been targets for retrenchment. Results show that up to 1985 the Nordic programmes offered higher benefits that corporatist schemes, but this situation has changed and they no longer provide higher compensation. However, the Scandinavian countries have to a great extent preserved their universal coverage, whereas in other groups of countries coverage has been slightly reduced.

"IT'S ALL UP TO YOU": HOW WELFARE-TO-WORK EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS CONSTRUCT WORK-FORCE SUCCESS

J. A. Sandlin

Adult Education Quarterly, Vol. 54, 2004, p.89-104

Students, teachers and curriculum materials expressed the idea that success came about as a result of individual agency. That is whether one gets a job or succeeds in a job depends on hard work, having the right attitude and following the rules. It is assumed that those who fail to succeed in landing a job or leaving welfare lack proper character, do not work hard enough, or do not have the right attitude. These programmes thus uphold a perspective that reinforces the American myth of success that has been prevalent in the USA since the seventeenth century.

THE LABOR MARKET EFFECTS OF WELFARE REFORM

D. Lubotsky

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol.57, 2004, p.249-266

In order to evaluate the effects of the 1996 US Welfare Reform Act, it is important to understand how increased labour force participation among former welfare recipients will affect the overall market for low-skilled workers. Study takes a first step in that direction by evaluating how local labour markets in Michigan were affected when General Assistance, a sizeable programme for low-income people who did not qualify for federal assistance, was eliminated in 1991. Findings suggest that hourly earnings among low-educated workers were unaffected by the subsequent labour force increase and that there was no decline in employment among low-skilled workers who were in the labour market prior to the elimination of the programme.

NORDIC DISABILITY POLICIES IN A CHANGING EUROPE: IS THERE STILL A NORDIC MODEL?

B. Hvinden

Social Policy and Administration, vol.38, 2004, p.170-189

Article discusses the attributes of a distinct Nordic model of disability protection and how far the actual situation in Nordic countries matches the requirements of the model. Finds that while Nordic disability protection provides generous cash benefits to those who need them, there has been less development of regulations to ensure accessibility and combat discrimination. There is concern that current reforms will reduce cash benefits and tighten eligibility criteria in order to contain costs, while countries are still reluctant to enforce regulations that would compensate for the tightening of the income maintenance system.

STAKEHOLDING AND INHERITANCES

E.N. Wolff

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.119-126

Article examines the likely effects of stakeholding on wealth inequality in the USA. Initial stakeholder grants would be equally distributed among households. However, their effect on the overall distribution of household wealth would depend on:

  • the proportion of the stakes actually saved;
  • how gifts and bequests would change as a result of the new stakeholding transfers.

WELFARE REFORM AND CHILD SUPPORT POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES

D. Kurz and A. Hirsch

Social Politics, vol.10, 2003, p.397-412

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), introduced by the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, envisions that, while women are on public assistance, they will receive, in addition to their stipend from the state, some child maintenance from the father(s) of their children. When their time limit for public assistance expires, it is expected that poor single mothers will be able to support themselves through a combination of work and child maintenance. Authors demonstrate that TANF has added more restrictive requirements to the child support system for women on welfare and for those whose time limits have expired. These requirements make it more difficult for women to get adequate child support than was the case under the former scheme, Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

WHY STAKEHOLDING?

B. Ackerman and A. Alstott

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.41-60

Presents the idea of a state giving all citizens a lump sum when they reach adulthood. Also introduces the UK government's proposals for Children's Savings Accounts which have important features in common with stakeholding.

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