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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2005): Welfare State - Overseas

Defeating welfare retrenchment: privatization and conflict in the Argentine nuclear energy sector

I. Alcaniz

New Political Science, vol.27, 2005, p.331-344

During the 1990s the government of President Carlos Menem in Argentina privatised the oil, natural gas and electricity distribution industries, while at the same time dismantling the social welfare arrangements that regulated access to healthcare, education and pensions for public sector workers. Article discusses how nuclear professionals and unionised workers successfully campaigned against privatisation of the nuclear energy industry and its associated welfare institutions by linking the role of the state as guarantor of job security to its responsibility to ensure nuclear safety.

Economy and morality: the philosophy of the welfare state

Y. Shionaya

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2005

What is the purpose of the economy? To answer this question, this book provides a systematic approach to economic ethics and constructs a relationship between the economy and morality; it expounds theoretical and practical issues of economic philosophy along two dimensions: values and institutions. Its unique emphasis is on the economics of virtue, which is concerned with the virtuous utilization of economic resources for human development, and which is applied to the reform of the welfare state.

Who sets social policy in metropolis? Economic positioning and social reform in Singapore

M. Weiss

New Political Science, vol.27, 2005, p.267-289

Paper examines why the Singaporean government has taken steps towards greater official tolerance of gays and lesbians, despite potential backlash and previous statements that the homosexual lifestyle is contrary to Asian cultural norms. The Singapore economy has been suffering since the late 1990s and the government wishes to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship to revive it. Tolerance of gays signals tolerance of all sorts of creative nonconformists, whether local or "innovative outsiders". Article shows how the forces of economic globalisation can empower some marginalised groups and limit the state's power to set social policy.

Gender-bias in skills and social policies: the varieties of capitalism perspective on sex segregation

M. Estévez-Abe

Social Politics, vol.12, 2005, p.180-215

This article develops a novel skill-based theory to explain patterns of occupational segregation in advanced industrial societies, bringing together ideas from the varieties of capitalism literature and feminist studies of welfare states. The central argument is that firm-specific skills, such as those acquired through apprenticeships, discriminate against women, whereas general skills are more gender-neutral. The article thus attributes cross-national variations in occupational segregation to differences in national skill profiles: those countries in which a large number of employers rely on firm-specific skills experience higher levels of occupational segregation by gender. An exploration of the interactive effects of social policy regimes and national skills profiles on occupational segregation suggests that countries with strong employment protection experience greater sex segregation. The evidence is inconclusive, however, about the effects of women-friendly social policies.

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