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

COMBINING WORK AND FAMILY IN TWO WELFARE STATE CONTEXTS: A DISCOURSE ANALYTICAL PERSPECTIVE

K. Repo

Social Policy and Administration, Vol.38, 2004, p.622-639

The article explores the welfare states of Great Britain and Finland and considers whether the differences between the two affect the ways working mothers perceived the balance of their work and family lives. Scandinavian welfare states are based on universalism with the view that all citizens have a right to social services and thus childcare is universally available in Finland. In contrast, the UK emphasises individual freedom and market solutions, and childcare is mainly provided through the private sector. Interviews were held with working mothers in both countries and results showed that although mothers used similar discursive frameworks, there were differences between them regarding, amongst other things, the division of parental responsibilities and the professional status of childcare.

MECHANISMS OF POVERTY ALLEVIATION: ANTI-POVERTY EFFECTS OF NON-MEANS-TESTED AND MEANS-TESTED BENEFITS IN FIVE WELFARE STATES

K. Nelson

Journal of European Social Policy, Vol.14, 2004, p.371-390

The article explores the extent to which non-means-tested entitlements and means-tested benefits reduce relative economic poverty in different institutional settings in order to try to explain the varying success of different welfare regimes in poverty alleviation. It finds that the availability of non-means-tested entitlements is an important factor in explaining this. The article also sets out a new method for estimating the anti-poverty effects of separate parts of the social transfer system.

POVERTY AND NEO-LIBERAL BIAS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

R. Bush

Development and Change, Vol.35, 2004, p.673-695

The article challenges the traditional definition of poverty in the Middle East and North Africa, stating instead that, historically, the region has had low levels of poverty and relatively good levels of income distribution. It argues that the myth of poverty has been retained due to a misconception that poverty emerges because of exclusion, when it actually occurs because of poor people's "differential incorporation" into economic and political processes. It attacks Western governments' continued attempts to promote political liberalisation, arguing that this will impact adversely on the social contract that autocratic rulers have enforced regarding delivery of basic services and leave people in greater poverty than before.

WELFARE AND THE STATE: CRITICAL CONCEPTS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

N. Deakin, C. J-Finer and B. Matthews (editors)

London: Routledge, 2004

This five volume set presents an account of the development of welfare systems over the past 150 years and the role played by the state and other agencies in shaping them. Each contains:

  • key texts from the period covered which provide examples of contemporary thinking about the central issues surrounding the welfare state;
  • texts that provide an indication of the socio-economic and political context of the period;
  • contemporary material describing and analysing the operation of the welfare system;
  • restrospective commentary;
  • prospective commentary

THE WELFARE EXPERIMENTS: POLITICS AND POLICY EVALUATION

R.H. Rogers-Dillon

Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press 2004

Welfare experiments conducted at the state level during the 1990s radically restructured the American welfare state and have played a critical and unexpected role in the broader policy making process. Through these experiments, previously unpopular reform ideas, such as welfare time limits, gained wide and enthusiastic support. Ultimately, the institutional legacy of the old welfare regime was broken, new ideas took hold, and the welfare experiments generated a new institutional channel in policymaking. The author argues that these welfare experiments were not simply scientific experiments, but a powerful political tool that created a framework within which few could argue successfully against reform. Legislation proposed in 2002 formalised this approach, permitting the executive, as opposed to legislative, branches of federal and state governments to renegotiate social policies, an unprecedented change in American policymaking. This book provides an insight into how social policy is made in the United States, and how that process is changing.

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