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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Welfare state - Overseas

Between growth and exclusion in technopolis: managing inequalities in Toulouse, France

W.J. Nicholls

City and Community, vol.5, 2006, p.319-345

This article seeks to explain how local officials have struck a balance between the competing pressures of economic growth fuelled by high technology industries and social exclusion in Toulouse. It does this by analysing the strategies of local officials in separate economic and welfare policy communities. As policy communities in the area of economic development have embraced the market and the goals of growth and competition, those in the area of social welfare have mobilised state resources to treat excluded people and maintain clientelistic networks in low-income neighbourhoods. However, there have been no efforts by policy communities in economic development to extend opportunities to less skilled members of the population, or by welfare policy communities to link clients to jobs. Both policy communities operate in relative isolation from one another. Consequently, economic policies have contributed to widening the skillsdivide and welfare policies have aimed to reinforce the safety net rather than close the skills divide.

The East Asian welfare model

C. Aspalter

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.290-301

This article describes the particular path of welfare state development in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The analysis brings to light the existence of a distinct East Asian welfare model. In East Asia, clear preference has been given to the family and the market in welfare provision, with the state confined to a regulative role. Large scale redistribution is almost absent from he scene. There is also a strong focus on investment in social and human capital development, shown in a commitment to education, healthcare, work experience, and training. Social rights in East Asia are primarily directed towards economic participation through the market, strong public investment in education, health and housing, and a moderate commitment of the state to social security provision.

Emotions, self-interest and support for social welfare in a Chinese society with reference to a Dutch study on welfare legitimacy.

C.-K. Wong, K.-Y. Wong and B.-H. Mok

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.302-313

The research literature identifies three reasons why citizens support the welfare state: self-interest, empathy with the vulnerable and a sense of moral obligation to serve the common good. This study seeks to identify how far a sample of Chinese citizens of Hong Kong endorse these three motives for supporting social welfare and whether or not personal characteristics, such as socio-economic background, age and gender moderate motives for supporting welfare provision. Findings are compared with those of similar studies of Dutch citizens.

Exploring attitudes towards the welfare state: students’ views in eight democracies

C. Sabbagh and P. Vanhuysse

Journal of Social Policy, vol.35, 2006, p.607-628

This research demonstrates that the type of welfare regime under which they are living does shape citizens’ beliefs and attitudes. Survey respondents in liberal and radical welfare state regimes appear to be more individualistic, to more strongly support the work ethic, and to attribute more internal causes to poverty and inequality than respondents in either conservative or social democratic regimes. Conversely, respondents in the latter regimes showed higher levels of support for egalitarian redistribution, the broad scope of welfare and attribution of poverty to external causes. These findings from university student samples generally correspond to prior research conducted among adults.

Income poverty, deprivation and exclusion: a comparative study of Australia and Britain

P. Saunders and L. Adelman

Journal of Social Policy, vol.35, 2006, p.559-584

Increasingly, researchers are using direct measures of deprivation and exclusion to overcome the acknowledged limitations of measuring poverty using an income poverty line. This article examines the structure of poverty, deprivation and exclusion in Australia and Britain and compares the sensitivity of results to different indicators of poverty. The indicators examined are income poverty (defined relative to median income benchmarks), the number of deprivation and exclusion conditions actually experienced (as reported in surveys), and the overlap between the different indicators. The results show that, while income poverty is higher in Britain than Australia, the incidence of both deprivation and social exclusion is considerably higher in Australia than in Britain. Lone parent households stand out in both countries as experiencing the highest rates of both income poverty and deprivation/exclusion, followed by single working age people living alone and couples with three or more children. In both countries, the susceptibility of older people to income poverty does not translate into deprivation or exclusion to the same degree as other households. If accurate, these results suggest that policies aimed at tackling poverty need to be targeted at groups whose poverty is not just a consequence of low income but is also validated by other indicators of unmet need.

Market-based governance and the challenge for rural governments: US trends

M. E. Warner

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.612-631

Worldwide governments are showing enthusiasm for decentralisation and privatisation of public service provision. This article demonstrates that rural areas are not favoured by either of these trends, using data from the United States covering the period 1992-2002. Rural areas are less attractive to private for-profit providers, and they have less managerial capacity to negotiate and monitor contracts.

Redefining the “rural question”: the new “politics of the rural” and social policy

M. Woods

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.579-595

Traditionally rural social policy has been concerned with farms and the support of agriculture. As the economic importance of agriculture has declined in Western countries, attention has switched to other aspects of rural life. This article explores this policy shift in three arenas, conflicts over the provision and rationalisation of rural services, campaigns around the closure of rural schools, and responses to the presence of minority groups such as travellers and asylum seekers in rural areas, using illustrative examples from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Social funds and decentralisation: optimal institutional design

J.-P. Faguet and A.-B. Wietzke

Public Administration and Development, vol.26, 2006, p.303-315

Most social funds operate in developing countries at various stages of decentralisation. This article investigates how the social fund model, originally a very centralised one, can best work alongside decentralised government institutions. The authors argue that social funds and decentralised local government can complement each other. They first examine empirical evidence on whether social funds support or undermine the institutions of government, with particular emphasis on local government. They then explore how social fund administrative processes can be adapted to work effectively with local governments.

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