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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2006) : Welfare State - Overseas

Are poor neighbourhoods resource deprived? A case study of childcare centres in New York

M.L. Small and L. Stark

Social Science Quarterly, vol.86, 2005, Supplement, p.1013-1036

Many social scientists believe that poor mothers are better off in middle-class than poor neighbourhoods, because the latter are deprived of important institutional resources. Authors test whether poor neighbourhoods are more likely to lack one critical institutional resource, the childcare centre. Results show that the probability of the presence of a childcare centre does not decrease as the poverty level increases, the relationship depends strongly on funding source, with privately funded centres being less likely and publicly funded ones more likely to be present in poor areas, and at least two factors influence why poor neighbourhoods are more likely to have certain centres, the local state and the nonprofit infrastructure.

Economic globalization and the welfare state in affluent democracies 1975-2001

D. Brady, J. Beckfield and M. Seeleib-Kaiser

American Sociological Review, vol.70, 2005, p.921-948

Scholarship is sharply divided over how or if globalisation influences welfare states. The effects of globalisation may be positive causing expansion, negative triggering crisis and reduction, curvilinear leading to convergence or insignificant. Article contributes new evidence to this debate through an analysis of three welfare state measures and a comprehensive array of globalisation indicators for 17 affluent democracies between 1975 and 2001. Results suggest that globalisation effects on welfare states are far smaller than the effects of domestic politics and local economic factors. There is no clear evidence that globalisation causes welfare state expansion, reduction, crisis or convergence.; Ultimately, this study suggests scepticism towards bold claims about globalisation’s effect on the welfare state.

EU law and the welfare state: in search of solidarity

G. de Burca (editor)

Oxford: OUP, 2005

The volume addresses the important issue of the impact of the EU law on national welfare state systems. It looks at issues of social citizenship and the influence of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as at the impact of EU economic freedoms- competition law and free movement law in particular- on both ‘services of general economic interest’ and on national health-care systems.

European welfare states: comparative perspectives

M. Cousins

London: Sage, 2005

The book provides an up-to-date comparative analysis of European welfare states. It covers three main issues:
Key theories about welfare states (for example, political theory, globalisation and gender).
A description and analysis of the European welfare states and a comparative outline of a small number of states drawn from different welfare ‘families’.
A discussion of current key challenges and possible options for future policy development.

Europe’s leaders look north, but has Sweden really got the best of both worlds?

N. Watt

Guardian, January 5th 2006, p.20

As the Austrian EU presidency prepares to present the Nordic socio-economic model, which offers low unemployment and generous social assistance, as the way forward for Europe, this article asks questions about those falling through the safety net it provides.

On inter- and intra-individual redistribution of the welfare state

A. Bergh

Social Science Quarterly, vol.86, 2005 Supplement, p.984-995

The redistributive effects of welfare states are traditionally measured by comparing the gross and net distribution of annual income among adults. However, this approach does not take into account of the fact that a large share of taxes paid by adults are paid back to the same individuals later in life. A formal model of a simple welfare state in a society with low and high earners is used to describe inequality of gross and net annual income and of complete lifetime incomes among adults. Results show that most of the redistribution carried out by the modern welfare state is intra-individual redistribution. Intra-individual redistribution is likely to be favourable to low-income earners because it compensates for inequalities in the distribution of assets and access to capital markets.

Public services and the service economy: individualism and the Choice Agenda

B. Jordan

Journal of Social Policy, vol.35, 2006, p.143-162

Article focuses on the nature of services as economic phenomena and the role of services within a context for human well-being. It shows that the neglect of services in economic theory can be traced to the origins of political economy as a method of inquiry, and that social policy analysis has not been vigorous enough in tackling this omission. As a result, the production and consumption of services have come to be treated as analogous to those of goods, so that competition and choice now provide the principles for public sector reform programmes. This ignores the relational and contextual elements in human well-being, and the potentially crucial role of services in meeting such needs.

The welfare state: pensions, health, and education

A. Seldon

Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005 (The Collected works of Arthur Seldon)

This collection sets out Seldon’s critique of state-provided welfare. It explains how state-run welfare, such as national pensions and health care, suppresses innovation, diminishes personal choice, undermines personal responsibility, and ends by providing only mediocre services.

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