Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (November 1999): Welfare State - overseas

BLAIRISM CREATES INEQUALITY, SAY GERMANS

I. Karacs

Independent, Sept. 3rd 1999, p. 1

The Commission for Basic Values, charged with modernising the German Social Democratic Party, has concluded that inequality and poverty are growing in Britain under New Labour, spawning a new underclass. Argues that, while reducing job protection in Germany would reduce unemployment, the social cost would be unacceptably high. In a country where free health care, an egalitarian pensions system and generous pensions are taken for granted, the British experiment lacks appeal.

DECENTRALISATION AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION: INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND THE CASE OF THE PHILIPPINES

R. Bird and E. R. Rodriguez

Public Administration and Development, vol. 19, 1999, p. 299-319

Begins with a general quantitative overview of the relationship between decentralisation and poverty across a number of Asian and Latin American countries. Then discusses key aspects of the relationship between decentralisation and poverty alleviation in the Philippines, drawing on experiences of countries such as Argentina, Chile and Columbia in Latin America and Indonesia and Vietnam in Asia. Next addresses the question of local capacity to deliver services, discussing local financial resources, and the effects of different approaches to decentralisation on the targeting and delivery of health services, primary education, housing and infrastructure. Concludes by noting the importance of considering migration in any treatment of decentralisation and poverty.

HANDICAP, NOT TRUMP CARD: THE FRANCO-GERMAN MODEL ISN'T WORKING

K. Marsden

London: Centre for Policy Studies, 1999

Argues that high levels of government spending and Keynsian-style job creation programmes have failed to improve the lot of the unemployed in Europe. Legislation to restrict working hours and encourage early retirement have been accompanied by rising rather than falling levels of unemployment in France and Germany, the two European economies where the damaging effects of excessive labour market regulation are most apparent. Also notes that government spending on labour market programmes such as the New Deal is ineffective, and argues that provision of training should be left to the private sector.

ROUGH RIDE AHEAD FOR GERMAN REFORM

H. Simonian

Financial Times, August 26th 1999, p. 2

The German cabinet has agreed a package of spending and pension reforms to arrest the country's upwardspiralling debts. However the measures face a rough ride when put to the Bundestag in September as part of next year's budget.

A THREAT TO SOCIAL SECURITY? THE IMPACT OF EU MEMBERSHIP ON THE FINNISH WELFARE STATE

V. Timonen

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 9, 1999, p. 253-261

In the fifth year of membership of the EU, the Finnish welfare state shows no sign of erosion. Changes which have taken place in Finnish social policies are largely due to factors separate from EU and EMU membership. The main motives for welfare state restructuring were the recession and changed rules for macroeconomic management that rendered a number of economic and social policy responses to crises redundant. However, welfare restructuring has often been explained and justified by politicians on the grounds of EU membership.

TOWARDS A SCHUMPTERIAN WORKFARE POSTNATIONAL REGIME: PATH-SHAPING AND PATH-DEPENDENCY IN DANISH WELFARE STATE REFORM

J. Turfing

Economy and Society, vol. 28, 1999, p. 369-402

Treating the welfare state as a dependent variable, article explores the questions of why and when welfare reform is put on the agenda and how different political strategies aim to restructure the welfare state. Treating the welfare state as an independent variable, asks what impact inherited forms of welfare state have on the formulation, choice and realisation of political strategies for welfare state reform. Offers an analysis of the dialectics of path-shaping and path-dependency in relation to recent Danish reforms which appear to lead from Keynesian welfare national state to a Schumpterian workfare postnational regime.

WELFARE REFORM IN THE NORDIC COUNTRIES IN THE 1990s: USING FUZZY SET THEORY TO ASSESS CONFORMITY TO IDEAL TYPES

J. Kvist

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 9, 1999, p. 231-252

Article uses fuzzy set theory to assess the conformity of the Nordic countries to a pre-conceptualised ideal-typical Nordic welfare model. This permits assessment of recent welfare reform and judgement as to whether changes are qualitative or quantitative in nature, i.e. whether reform amounts to differences in kind or degree. Comparing development of benefits in cash and in kind within three welfare areas (families, the unemployed and the elderly) during the 1990s and across the Nordic countries allows the assessment of patterns of welfare reform. Results show that Finland and Sweden have implemented more cuts than Denmark and Norway, and all countries have both expanded and contracted particular welfare programmes.

WELFARE REFORMS DEPRIVE US POOR

M. Dejevsky

Independent, August 23rd 1999, p. 11

Reports results of research which shows that welfare reforms in the US have hit poor single mothers hardest. Between 1993 and 1995 the income of the poorest 20% rose by $1,036 only to fall by more than half that amount, $577, between 1995 and 1997. The study attributes the decline to cuts in allowance as single mothers take low-paying jobs and confusion about their eligibility for state health benefits and food stamps.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web