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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2006): Social security - overseas

L. Wong and K. Ngok

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.158-173

China’s gradual transition from a command to a market economy has been hampered by its ailing state-owned enterprises employing huge numbers of surplus workers. If state owned enterprises are to survive, they need to downsize their workforces. However massive lay-offs could cause social unrest and trigger ugly protests. Faced with this dilemma, the Chinese government has invented the process of xiagang, by which surplus workers are sent on extended leave but not sacked, and introduced a national system of re-employment service centres, which offer living allowances, job training and re-employment assistance as a transitional measure.

S. Brittan

Financial Times, April 25th 2006, p.15

Proposals for a single financial transaction balancing off social security benefits against the income tax bill are espoused by both left and right. Faced with rampant poverty in the US despite a $100bn annual welfare bill, and worried by an ideological chasm, policy analyst Charles Murray is outlining a long term destination for a single payment. The plans are reported here with some thought to UK possibilities.

A. Aadvik and S.-A. Dahl

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.121-130

In 1993 Norway enterprises offering sheltered employment to disabled people were reformed and reoriented towards provision of training and rehabilitation with a view to reintegrating clients into the open labour market. Study found that the percentage of disabled people who found ordinary jobs after a two year placement in a vocational rehabilitation programme increased from 28% in 1995 to 39% in 1999. The article discusses possible factors, besides the reform, that may have contributed to this increase.

What determines the extent to which employers will comply with their social security obligations? Evidence from Chinese firm-level data

C. Nyland, R. Smyth and C.J. Zhu

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.196-214

Evasion by firms of their obligations to contribute to social protection schemes has become a critical problem in the developing world. This is partly because compliance is not monitored due to the costs of policing company behaviour. This article aims to identify the types of firm that tend to have a high rate of non-compliance to assist in targeting policing efforts, using firm specific data from Shanghai.

Why are Swedes sick but Finns unemployed?

H. Hytti

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.131-141

Sweden and Finland have social security systems that are quite similar, but the use of sickness related benefits and disability pensions varies between the countries. This study shows that the greatest difference between the Swedish and Finnish social security systems is the way in which social protection and the activation of the unemployed are handled. While Finland has put emphasis on preventing unemployed people from using subsidised work to artificially extend their income security, the Swedish system guarantees income security almost indefinitely while committing the recipient through activation measures to the ultimate goal of returning to work.

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