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

ACCESSION AND SOCIAL POLICY: THE CASE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC

M. Potucek

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.14, 2004, p.253-266

In conformity with the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession of 1993, the Czech Republic focused on reforming its economy, political institutions and legal and administrative system along Western lines. Social goals were a low priority until the EU launched its Lisbon Strategy in 2002. In welfare reform, the Czech Republic has adhered to the corporatist, Bismarckian welfare state model, and its system has much in common with those of Germany and Austria.

ACCESSION AND SOCIAL POLICY: THE CASE OF HUNGARY

Z. Ferge and G. Juhasz

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.14, 2004, p.233-251

Many factors and actors have impacted on post-socialist social policy in Hungary. The International Labour Organisation and the EU influenced labour market issues, while family policy was mostly shaped by home-grown ideas, with some input from the World Bank. The EU had an important role in shaping social and civil dialogue, but its concerns prior to accession remained largely economic and political.

CAMPAIGNING ON EXPERTISE: HOW THE OECD FRAMED EU WELFARE AND LABOUR MARKET POLICIES, AND WHY SUCCESS COULD TRIGGER FAILURE

J.M. Dostal

Journal of European Public Policy, vol.11, 2004, p.440-460

Article outlines how the OECD's Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs influenced EU welfare and labour market reform agendas between 1994 and 2001. In 1992 the EU asked the OECD to study the underlying reasons for high unemployment in member states. In 1994 the OECD presented its Jobs Study, which argued that the EU should scale down labour market regulation and social welfare provision in order to make labour markets more flexible and reduce structural unemployment. The Jobs Study strongly influenced the EU's subsequent European Employment Strategy. Article seeks to explain the OECD's influence on policymaking through an analysis of its "organizational discourse", dominated by liberal economists and characterized by the exclusion of interest groups.

CARING FOR THE POOR VERSUS DEGRADING THE POOR - THE CASE OF HONG KONG NEWSPAPER CHARITY

C.K. Chang

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.13, 2004, p.266-275

The article explores newspaper charity in Hong Kong and its implications for the welfare state. It examined 155 cases from the social service columns of two popular newspapers - the Oriental Daily and the Apple Daily over a period of three months in 2000. It found that poor health and "incomplete family patterns" were the criteria used to verify recipients' dependency and that images were used manipulatively, first to demonstrate recipients' needs, and then to show the benefit they gained by the donation. The gulf between the social status of recipients (portrayed as desperate, weak and helpless) and donors (given high social recognition for their charitable contributions) was also highlighted. Results showed that the newspaper charity was only able to help with short term and specific needs and that a residual welfare state was needed. The study also showed that journalists involved in charitable activities must be given a code of conduct in order to protect the dignity of recipients.

THE EU'S IMPACT OF THE GREEK WELFARE STATE: EUROPEANIZATION ON PAPER?

D.A. Sotiropoulos

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.14, 2004, p.267-284

The article argues that after Greece joined the EU, welfare reforms were more driven by domestic policies than by European influences. The welfare state expanded in the 1980s when the socialist party was in power. In the 1990s, Greece managed to meet the Maastricht criteria for joining the Euro without financially consolidating its pension system. Greece still lags behind other EU countries in adopting a multi-pillar pension system. It still has no minimum income guarantee and corruption and mismanagement are rampant in its national health service. However, there has been significant EU influence on vocational training, labour market policy and regional development, with some impact also on social assistance. Greece has also adopted an array of EU-driven policy tools and institutions of monitoring and decision-making in social policy.

THE EU'S IMPACT ON THE SPANISH WELFARE STATE: THE ROLE OF COGNITIVE EUROPEANIZATION

A.M. Guillen and S. Alvarez

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.14, 2004, p.285-299

The article analyses the impact of EU accession on the policy-making process, institutional remodelling, and the design and content of social policies. It discusses the EU's influence as compared to that of domestic politics and other international organisations on the redesign of the Spanish welfare state. It concludes that the Spanish welfare state has undergone a significant process of expansion and Europeanization, entailing the introduction of several universal policies and a broad array of tax-funded, non-contributory benefits and services. Domestic politics was most influential in driving these reforms but EU recommendations on social policy had a significant indirect effect.

GLOBALISATION AND WELFARE SYSTEMS IN ASIA

R. Chan (Ed.)

Social Policy and Society, vol.3, 2004, p.253-331

This special issue presents an overview of the impact of economic globalisation on welfare states in Asia. None of the countries reviewed remained apathetic in the face of the social problems attendant on globalisation. Their responses ranged from improving the social safety nets available to protect the vulnerable (in China) and restructuring the social security system (in Hong Kong and Singapore) to rapid expansion of the public welfare system (in Taiwan and Korea). Initiatives in Japan and Hong Kong aimed at shifting responsibility from the state to the private sector and the individual. Public resources have increasingly been diverted to productive investments, such as education and Active Labour Market Policies in Hong Kong and Singapore. Concerns have been raised about the financial sustainability of the welfare systems in places like Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan where social expenditure has been significantly increased.

GOVERNANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE POVERTY REDUCTION: THE SOCIAL FUND IN NICARAGUA

A.D. Dijkstra

Public Administration and Development, vol.24, 2004, p.197-211

The Nicaraguan Emergency Social Investment Fund (FISE) was created by donors to alleviate the social consequences of economic adjustment policies. It finances small building and infrastructure upgrading projects in education, health, sanitation and water supply, and focuses on poor communities. The article addresses the question of whether the establishment of a social find like FISE as a separate agency fosters or hampers policy making and implementation for sustainable poverty reduction.

NUMBER OF AMERICANS IN POVERTY UP BY 1.3M

C. Swann

Financial Times, August 27th 2004, p.6

About 1.3m Americans fell into poverty last year, while the total without medical insurance swelled by 1.4m, according to official figures released in August 2004. The Census Bureau showed that the number of Americans living in poverty reached 35.9m in 2003 - an increase from 12.1 per cent of the population to 12.5 per cent. The number without health coverage rose to 45m - 15.6 per cent of the population, compared with 15.2 per cent last year.

THE OECD AND EUROPEAN WELFARE STATES

K. Armingeon and M. Beyeler

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004

The OECD includes the richest nations on earth. It issues recommendations on economic and social policies. Is its counsel on welfare state policies coherent? And is it followed by member states? This book comprises 14 country studies considering OECD recommendations and their implementation in Western welfare states. The overall results show a large degree of consistency in OECD analyses and recommendations, though little efficacy is revealed.

POLICY UTILISATION OF RESEARCH RESULTS IN CAMEROON

C.G. Mbock and others

International Social Science Journal, no.179, 2004, p.37-45

In the case of Cameroon, study reported shows that research results are not spontaneously taken into account by decision-makers. Tacit but widespread resistance reflects a lack of consultation between the parties engaged in the governance process, which logically runs from the identification of problems to the implementation of solutions derived from research.

SHRINKING WELFARE STATES? COMPARING MATERNITY LEAVE BENEFITS AND CHILD CARE PROGRAMS IN EUROPEAN UNION AND NORTH AMERICAN WELFARE STATES 1985-2000

A. Henderson and L.A. White

Journal of European Public Policy, vol.11, 2004, p.497-519

Analysis of longitudinal cross-national data shows that reports of welfare states' demise are exaggerated. In most of the countries surveyed, the number of child care and early education places grew, as did the duration of maternity/parental leave, although benefit levels declined in some cases. The data also reveal some policy convergence in the late 1990s, but not as much as functionalist theories would predict.

SOCIAL POLICY INFLUENCE OF THE EU AND OTHER GLOBAL ACTORS: THE CASE OF LITHUANIA.

C. De La Porte and B. Deacon.

Policy Studies, vol.25, 2004, p.121-137

The article compares the influence of the EU, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme on social policy in Lithuania. It finds that the EU has been less influential than other actors and has been more marginal than might have been expected at every level other than securing an acceptance by the Lithuanian government of the minimum legal requirements of membership.

WOMEN AND VIOLENCE: THE EFFECTS OF DISMANTLING THE WELFARE STATE

M. Morrow, O. Hankivsky and C. Varcoe

Critical Social Policy, vol.24, 2004, p.358-384

Canada's welfare state has been gradually dismantled since the early 1990s. The article looks at the effect of this on women who have suffered violence and the organisations that give them advocacy and support. The state of affairs in British Columbia, the most recent state to implement budgetary measures that have dramatically cut social spending and radically altered social policy, is examined in detail, and the author argues that the cuts have undermined women's equality and safety, as well as the feminist anti-violence movement. Strategies for resistance to violence against women, including local resistance, economic and social policy and transnational feminist activism, are discussed before the article concludes that the fight against violence can only be won through a strong coordinated multi-sectoral response.

THE WORLDS OF WELFARE: ILLUSORY AND GENDER BLIND

C. Bambra

Social Policy and Society, vol.3, 2004, p.201-211

The article presents a categorisation of welfare states based on a defamilisation index. In this context defamilisation is taken to mean the extent to which the welfare state releases women from dependence on the family and facilitates their economic independence. It goes on to compare the categorisation produced by the defamilisation index with that produced by Epsing-Andersen's "Worlds of Welfare" typology.

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