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Welfare reform on the Web (February 2007): Social security - overseas

Beyond activation: reforming European unemployment protection systems in post-industrial labour markets

J. Clasen and D. Clegg

European Societies, vol.8, 2006, p.527-553

Activation policies are considered as one of three strands of adaptation of unemployment protection schemes to the demands of the post-industrial labour market, alongside “unemployment support homogenisation” and “policy co-ordination”. “Policy co-ordination” involves the increased co-ordination of unemployment protection with other institutions, such as placement services and training provision. “Unemployment support homogenisation” offers the same basic package of benefits to all unemployed persons, regardless of their insurance contributions and employment record. In this context, this article sketches trends in the adoption of active labour market policies in four European states, France, the UK, Germany and Denmark.

Measuring state TANF policy variations and change after reform

G.F. De Jong and others

Social Science Quarterly, vol.87, 2006, p.755-781

Drawing on the Urban Institute’s Welfare Rules Database, this research seeks to assess whether US state welfare policy became more stringent after the introduction of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programme in 1996, focusing on eligibility requirements for groups such as married couples or legal immigrants, behaviours required to maintain eligibility, and eligibility time limits. It also explores whether state TANF programmes have become more similar to one another over time. Results suggest that states have enacted more stringent rules to regulate behavioural conditions of eligibility, and that these more stringent behavioural eligibility provisions have diffused across states over time. For the most part, however, there is little evidence that states have become more stringent across other dimensions of TANF policy, or that stringent policies are proliferating rampantly across neighbouring states. The authors conclude that there is no evidence that states have participated in a systematic race to the bottom in welfare programme generosity since 1996.

(For comment see Social Science Quarterly, vol.87, 2006, p.782-827)

Tentative evaluation of the impact of public transfers on the dynamics of poverty: the case of Russia

M. Clement

International Social Security Review, vol.60, Jan.-Mar. 2007, p.59-80

This article aims to offer an analysis of the impact of the system of transfers on poverty dynamics in the Russian Federation. The analysis shows that the Russian public transfer system has helped to reduce both chronic and transitory poverty, but that there is very little movement between the categories. It also shows that the system has some capacity to protect non-poor households from falling into poverty, but cannot reduce long-term poverty.

Universalism versus targeting: the vulnerability of social insurance and means-tested minimum income protection in 18 countries

K. Nelson

International Social Security Review, vol.60, Jan.-Mar. 2007, p.33-58

Both benefits based on social insurance and means-tested minimum income protection have been cut back over the past few decades. Cutbacks have been implemented across the board, irrespective of whether benefits are intended to cater for less fortunate citizens or are designed to provide income security in times of work incapacity. There is no support for the hypothesis recently advanced by scholars that there is a distinct evolutionary path followed only by means-tested benefits.

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