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

DIFFERENT ROUTES, COMMON DIRECTIONS? ACTIVATION POLICIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN DENMARK AND THE UK

C. Lindsay and M. Mainland

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.13, 2004, p.195-207

The article traces the development of activation policies for unemployed young people in the UK and Denmark during the 1990s. It explores the social, economic and political reasons behind the move and considers whether activation is a genuine policy shift or simply a passing trend. The two countries' policies are then compared with similarities or differences explained.

DOES EU ENLARGEMENT START A RACE TO THE BOTTOM? STRATEGIC INTERACTION AMONG EU MEMBER STATES IN SOCIAL POLICY

J. Kvist

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.14, 2004, p.301-318

The article explores the question of whether fears about large scale immigration from Eastern and Central European countries which have recently joined the EU will lead the 15 original member states to restrict access to their labour markets and social security systems. It finds little empirical evidence that welfare states with generous benefits and accessible labour markets will become magnets for welfare migrants. Nevertheless, the 15 original EU member states are acting as if migration is a strong probability. The majority have temporarily restricted the free movement of workers from the acceding countries, and the remainder have been actively adjusting their social policies.

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT DURATION AFFECTS SOCIAL ASSISTANCE RECEIPT: EVIDENCE FROM FINLAND

J. Saarela

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.13, 2004, p. 223-232

The article examines the link between length of unemployment spells and the probability of, as well of the length of time spent, requiring social assistance benefits using data from the Finnish labour market. Results show that the two scenarios are linked, and this can be explained in part by the fact that benefit entitlement changes as lengths of unemployment increase. Whether or not an individual has unemployment insurance is also a significant factor.

THE FOOD SAFETY NET AFTER WELFARE REFORM: USE OF PRIVATE AND PUBLIC FOOD ASSISTANCE IN THE KANSAS METROPOLITAN AREA

J. Mosley and L. Tiehen

Social Service Review, vol.78, 2004, p.267-283

The study employs longitudinal data on the use of both Food Stamps and private soup kitchens between 1998 and 2001. It found that 60% of people who used a food pantry at some time between 1998 and 2001 also received Food Stamps. The majority of joint users (67%) received both services in the same month. This implies that households are not substituting the two forms of assistance but rather accessing as many forms of help as possible during times of acute need.

"KNOWLEDGE UTILISATION" IN DUTCH SOCIAL POLICY: THE CASE OF THE DISABILITY INSURANCE ACT (WAO)

E. de Gier, R. Henke and J. Vijgen

International Social Science Journal, no.179, 2004, p.17-35

The Disability Insurance Act introduced in the Netherlands in 1967 has been widely used as an early exit road for older workers as the level and duration of the benefits it offers compare favourably to the benefits offered by unemployment insurance and social assistance. Research into the workings of the Act took off in the 1980s with a major longitudinal project looking at the causes of disability of WAO claimants, and has continued unabated. Article looks at the value of this research in improving disability policy and its implementation, focusing on three case studies. It concludes that direct policy use of research is very limited, but, in the Dutch context, it can act as a "lubricant" of the politico-administrative system.

THE LOGIC OF SANCTIONING WELFARE RECIPIENTS: AN EMPIRICAL ASSESSMENT

Y. Hasenfeld, T. Ghose and K. Larson

Social Services Review, vol.78, 2004, p.304-319

Findings from the CalWORKs programme show that sanctioned welfare recipients are more likely to be disadvantaged than non-sanctioned recipients. Sanctioned recipients faced more barriers complying with the programme's work requirements. These include: being younger, having more children, having poor work experience, experiencing substance abuse problems, lacking access to a car and caring for a sick or disabled household member. Findings suggest that sanctioned welfare recipients fail to comply with the programme's work requirements due to these barriers rather than due to resistance to them.

THE MECHANISM OF INCOME REDISTRIBUTION: THE CASE OF SOUTH KOREA

G.J. Hwang

Social Policy and Society, vol.3, 2004, p.243-252

By comparing the results of the national Survey of Family Income and Expenditure 1988-2002, the article identifies growing signs that the social security system in South Korea is beginning to reduce income inequality. However it argues that its impact is not yet large enough to make a significant difference and that social security is of little use in terms of mitigating the increasing inequality of original incomes which form the largest part of gross income.

MINIMUM INCOME SCHEMES FOR THE UNEMPLOYED: A CASE STUDY FROM DALIAN, CHINA

Ge Daoshun and Yang Tuan

International Social Science Journal, no.179, 2004, p.47-56

The municipal government in the city of Dalian implemented a minimum living protection system for the unemployed and needy administered through local offices and residents committees. In May 2000 a team from the Centre for Social Policy Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was formed to evaluate the scheme. There was evidence of abuse of the scheme by claimants with undeclared jobs and incomes. The research team then worked with the municipal authorities to devise a new scheme. They proposed grouping those eligible for the allowance into a non-profit making community organisation, which would assist them in finding jobs and voluntary work.

PARTICIPATION IN A DECENTRALISED HOUSING ALLOWANCE PROGRAMME IN A TRANSITION ECONOMY

T. Lykova and others

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.617-634

Russia's means-tested housing allowance programme was introduced in 1994 as part of an initiative to increase rents to market levels. In this system, municipal governments were given formal authority to set major programme parameters and to establish certain key administrative definitions. Research shows that differences in administrative practices account for large variations in participation rates amongst cities. The authors call for a stronger role in the national government in controlling the administration of the scheme.

THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF INCOME-RELATED HOUSING SUPPORT: DEBATES IN BRITAIN AND THE NETHERLANDS

H. Priemus and P.A. Kemp

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.653-668

In the closing decades of the 20th century most EU countries introduced means-tested housing allowances while at the same time reducing subsidies on new building and decontrolling private rents. The numbers claiming these allowances has grown rapidly, and so has their cost. The article looks at the policy debates around the design of these allowances in Britain and the Netherlands, focusing on:

  • whether or not they should be an instrument of housing policy or part of the social security system;
  • whether they should be available to both social housing and private sector tenants;
  • problems of fraud and abuse;
  • whether they should be based on household income or rent level.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION AND THE USE OF SOCIAL ASSISTANCE AMONG SECOND GENERATION IMMIGRANTS IN SWEDEN

M. Hammarstedt and J. Ekberg

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.13, 2004, p. 254-265

The article explores whether second-generation immigrants participate more in the Swedish income security system than the native population. Data were taken from 61,531 European and non-European second-generation immigrants. Results show that rates of participation vary dramatically between different groups of second-generation immigrants. Whilst those whose parents came from Western Europe used the income security system less than natives whose parents were both born in Sweden, those with Southern European parents and parents from outside Europe had high levels of usage. The article concludes that the alarming trend of high participation from those second-generation immigrants without European parents must be stemmed and that more effort must be made to integrate first-generation immigrants into the labour market in order to improve their economic prospects and to avoid the long-term dependence of their children on the income security system.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE (COUNTED AS) UNEMPLOYED? THE CASE OF SPAIN

L. Garrido and L. Toharia

Labour Economics, vol.11, 2004, p.507-523

The article examines the effects of the new European Commission regulation 1897/2000 which establishes a new definition of unemployment, using Spain, the first country to implement the regulation, as a case study. Traditionally an unemployed person was defined as someone willing to work but unable to a job, but under the new regulations only those actively seeking employment (i.e. doing something more than simply signing on at the job centre) are classified as unemployed. The article considers whether deleting passive job seekers from the unemployment count is appropriate as, unlike non-seekers, they are willing to work. It concludes that the new regulations fail to take into account the complexities of the labour market.

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