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Welfare reform on the Web (September 2006): Social security - Overseas

Earned income tax credit policies: impact and optimality: the Adam Smith lecture 2005

R. Blundell

Labour Economics, vol.13, 2006, p.423-443

The aim of the research reported in this lecture is to evaluate the impact and assess the optimality of earned income tax credits policies specifically for lone parents. These policies have been at the centre of welfare to work reforms in the UK, the US and continental Europe. The objective is to balance poverty reduction in families with children and employment incentives. This lecture considers two key questions: 1) what is the impact of such in-work benefits on labour supply?; and 2) do they constitute an optimal income transfer for low income working families?

Income security in market economies: what’s wrong with insurance?

L. Haagh

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.385-424

Unemployment insurance has emerged as a mainstream source of income support in developing countries. This article critically examines its use as a stand-alone scheme in highly insecure and uneven economies. Unemployment insurance on its own will protect only a minority of people in economies where flexible employment and job insecurity are rising and direct assistance may be a more effective form of income protection. The article suggests that optimal conditions for a voluntary system of unemployment insurance are those of social cohesion as they characterise some European economies, but few emergent economies.

The use of contestability and flexibility in the delivery of welfare services in Australia and the Netherlands

H. Morrell and N. Branosky (editors)

London: Department for Work and Pensions, 2005

This report is based on interviews and information gathered during study visits to Australia and the Netherlands to examine each country’s experience with reforming its public employment services. In Australia, job placement and case management services have been contracted out to a network of private and voluntary sector providers. This quasi-market provides scope for competition, variable prices, some degree of choice for job seekers, flexibility in service delivery and rewards for better providers. In the Netherlands in the late 1990s a centre-right coalition government introduced market mechanisms that enabled private sector labour market reintegration companies to deliver services. Both countries provide lessons for the UK government.

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