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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2005): Social Security - Overseas

Do job programs work? A review article

D.B. Muhlhausen

Journal of Labor Research, vol.26, 2005, p.299-321

During 2005/06 policymakers in Washington plan to re-authorise the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which is the primary authorising legislation for employment and training programmes operated by the US Department of Labor. The research literature casts doubt on the effectiveness of these programmes and the author calls for them to be abolished as wasteful.

Financial incentives and job-search training: methods to increase labour market integration in contemporary welfare states?

I. Malmberg-Heimonen and J. Vuori

Social Policy and Administration, vol.39, 2005, p.247-259

Study aimed to explore whether and how financial incentives and job search training improved both rates of re-entry into the labour market and the quality of the jobs gained. A total of 1,015 unemployed people participated in a Finnish follow-up study with a randomised experimental design. Although no overall impact of job-search training on re-employment was found, a positive effect was identified for groups of the unemployed who also had a financial incentive to participate in the programme. Among unemployed workers with benefits at the minimum level, there were no positive effects on quality of re-employment, and impact decreased when unemployment as prolonged.

Income protection through direct employment programmes: recent concepts and examples from Latin America

G. Reinecke

International Social Security Review, vol.58, Apr.-Sept. 2005, p.163-183

Direct employment programmes consist of the hiring of workers by public sector entities to perform work or services, with the aim of creating temporary employment. Article describes the main features (financing and administration) of a number of such programmes in Latin America, and evaluates their impact on job creation, the reduction of unemployment and the protection of the incomes of workers and their families.

A new approach to social assistance: Latin America’s experience with conditional cash transfer programmes

L.B. Rawlings

International Social Security Review, vol.58, Apr.-Sept.2005, p.133-161

Conditional cash transfers provide money to poor families contingent on certain behaviours such as sending children to school. They seek to address traditional short-term income support objectives and to facilitate the longer term accumulation of human capital. There is clear evidence of success from the first generation of such programmes in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua as measured by improved preventative healthcare, rising household consumption, and increased school enrolment rates.

The role of insurance in social protection in Latin America

D. Titelman and A. Uthoff

International Social Security Review, vol.58, Apr.-Sept.2005, p.43-69

Authors conclude that there is an increasing conflict between the financial requirements of social security and the capacity of countries to provide the necessary resources to satisfy the growing demand for health and pension services which is rising much faster than real growth in GDP. In the case of health systems, an inappropriate mix of public and private components has led to problems of risk selection and exclusion, even for basic health care. In addition, progress towards universal health coverage through social insurance creates escalating financial demands on the state which must be met regardless of the ups and downs of the economic cycle. A macroeconomic policy designed to support social policies must not only aim at levelling out the economic cycle but also generate rules for fiscal expenditure which permit countercyclical public spending.

Social protection and the labour market in Latin America: what can be learned from household surveys?

L. Gasparini and F.M. Betranou

International Social Security Review, vol.58, Apr.-Sept. 2005, p.15-42

Most social protection in Latin America is provided through contributory schemes linked to employment conditions in the formal economy. Article describes the levels, trends and structure of social protection for workers in Latin America, highlighting the relationship between social protection and employment conditions. The study is based on household surveys carried out in nine countries in the region.

Temporary employment experiences of women on welfare

C.J. Heinrich

Journal of Labor Research, vol.26, 2005, p.335-358

Article addresses the concern that the increasing rates at which female welfare recipients are entering temporary work through agencies may exacerbate problems of frequent job moves, low pay and lack of fringe benefits. Results of a small survey of female welfare recipients in North Carolina suggest that nearly all were satisfied with their working conditions and 75% were satisfied with their pay. However, they did express high levels of dissatisfaction with their lack of fringe benefits such as medical insurance and their annual earnings were very low, reflecting the chronic job insecurity they were experiencing.

Welfare reform and teenage girls

P. Offner

Social Science Quarterly, vol.86, 2005, p.306-322

Article uses a difference-in-difference methodology to assess US welfare reform programme impacts, making use of data from the March Current Population Survey 1989-2001. Results show that the 1996 welfare reform legislation increased the rate of school attendance among all teenage girls, and reduced the rate of teenage child-bearing.

Why many eligible individuals choose not to go on welfare

P.W. Liu, J. Zhang and J. Zhang

Economic Inquiry, vol.43, 2005, p.385-400

Article investigates why many people eligible for welfare benefits fail to claim them. This is done using a life cycle analysis, with realistic wage profiles over a lifetime, in the presence of borrowing constraints for both participants and non-participants. Authors show that good prospects of future wage growth and consumption smoothing through retirement savings may motivate people in low-paid jobs to work instead of claiming benefits. Welfare participation diminishes the prospects of wage growth in later life, and its restriction on income and assets prevents agents from consumption smoothing over the lifetime.

Women’s citizenship in the time of activation: the case of lone mothers in 'needs-based' welfare states

A. Skevik

Social Politics, vol.12, 2005, p.42-66

Article explores the impact of active labour market policies on women's citizenship through the lens of lone mothers in three countries (New Zealand, Australia and Norway) in which social policy has traditionally recognised caring. Evidence suggests that welfare regimes have in practice eroded women's rights to a lifelong dedication to unpaid care and housework. These states expect women to work outside the home when their nurturing obligations allow it. Active labour market programmes also exert pressure on women to participate in the labour market "in their own best interests", limiting claimants' rights to choose alternative lifestyles.

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