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

Between professional ethics and bureaucratic rationality: the challenging ethical position of social workers who are faced with implementing a workfare policy

M. Kjorstad

European Journal of Social Work, vol.8, 2005, p.381-398

In Norway, the municipalities are responsible for delivering social assistance through local social welfare offices staffed by professional social workers. Article explores concerns that the introduction of workfare policies may corrupt the ethical standards and norms of the profession. There are substantial variations in the implementation of workfare policies within the same municipal administration. Local management attitudes, social workers' personal ethics and experience, and the level of discretion they are allowed all contribute to this variation.

The changing association between prenatal participation in WIC and birth outcomes in New York City

T. Joyce, D. Gibson and S. Colman

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol.24, 2005, p.661-685

Research analyses the relationship between prenatal participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and birth outcomes in New York City from 1988 to 2001 using a sample of over 800,000 births to women on Medicaid. No relationship was found between prenatal WIC participation and measures of fetal growth among singletons. A modest pattern of association was found between WIC and patterns of fetal growth among US-born Black twins. Findings suggest that WIC participation has a minimal effect on adverse birth outcomes in New York City.

(For comment see Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, voil.24, 2005, p.687-701)

Does subsidised temporary employment get the unemployed back to work? An econometric analysis of two different schemes

M. Gerfin, M. Lechner and H. Steiger

Labour Economics, vol.12, 2005, p.807-835

Using individual data from administrative records, the authors investigate the effects of two different subsidised temporary employment schemes implemented in Switzerland: non-profit employment programmes and a subsidy for temporary jobs in private and public companies. Econometric analysis showed the subsidy for temporary jobs to be more effective than the non-profit employment programme in getting long-term unemployed people back to work. Neither programme is effective for the unemployed who find jobs easily anyway or who have a short spell out of work.

The Future of social security policy: women, work and a Citizens' Basic Income

A. McKay

London: Routledge, 2005

Current debates concerning the future of social security provision in advanced capitalist states have raised the issue of a Citizens' Basic Income (CBI) as a possible reform package, a proposal based on the principles of individuality, universality and unconditionality which would ensure a minimum income guaranteed for all members of society. Written from a feminist economics perspective, the book examines the proposal for a CBI and its potential in promoting equal rights for men and women.

The marketization of activation services: a modern panacea? Some lessons from the Dutch experience

R. van Berkel and P. van der Aa

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.15, 2005, p.329-343

The introduction of market mechanisms into social services provision has become an integral element of welfare state reform across the EU. In the Netherlands, labour market activation services have been provided by private for-profit companies for several years. The main effect of the marketisation of activation services has been an increase in the numbers of unemployed people availing themselves of them, since both purchasers and providers have financial incentives to increase use. However, there is no evidence of an increase in exits from social assistance and labour market entry. Privatisation does not as yet appear to have improved activation service quality or efficiency.

Morbid obesity and the transition from welfare to work

J. Cawley and S. Danziger

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol.24, 2005, p.727-743

Study utilised the Women's Employment Study dataset to investigate whether obesity, which is common among women of low socio-economic status, is a barrier to employment and earnings for current and former welfare recipients. A consistent correlation was found between weight and adverse labour market outcomes among White current and former welfare recipients. Among African-American respondents, weight was not significantly correlated with most labour market outcomes.

Poverty, food programs and childhood obesity

S.L. Hofferth and S. Curtin

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol.24, 2005, p.703-726

Editorials in major US media outlets have raised the question of whether food programmes are contributing to an epidemic of obesity in school children by providing too much food or the wrong kind of food. This paper first explores the relationship between family income and overweight among a nationally representative sample of primary-school age children. It goes on to consider whether participation in food programmes such as Food Stamps, the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program is associated with overweight among eligible children. No evidence that poor children are more likely to be overweight or that food programmes contribute to overweight among poor children was found.

Social enterprise and social inclusion: social enterprises in the sphere of work integration

I. Vidal

International Journal of Public Administration, vol.28, 2005, p.807-825

One sphere of activity in which social enterprises are active is job training and placement. Work-integration social enterprises seek to help poorly qualified unemployed people who are at risk of permanent exclusion from the labour market return to work. Paper analyses the socio-economic performance of work-integration social enterprises in a Spanish context.

Welfare reform and interstate migration of poor families

G.F. De Jong, D.R. Graefe and T. St Pierre

Demography, vol.42, 2005, p.469-496

This study tests the hypothesis that the 1996 welfare reform in the USA has increased inequalities between states in eligibility criteria and behaviour related rules. This change has given poor families incentives to move from states with more stringent eligibility criteria to those with a more generous approach. Analysis of data from the 1996-1999 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Urban Institutes Welfare Rules database and state economic data supported the thesis that stringency in state welfare eligibility and behaviour-related rules stimulated interstate out-migration of poor families.

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