Click here to skip to content

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

The children gap on social welfare and the politicization of American parents, 1984-2000

L. Elder and S. Greene

Politics and Gender, vol.2, 2006, p.451-472

This article explores whether having a child affects opinion on social welfare policy, whether the impact of parenthood differs for men and women, and whether that impact has varied over time. Results show that having children not only has a significant effect but also affects the views of men and women differently. Women with children at home are significantly more liberal on social welfare issues than those without children. For men, the presence of children has no impact at minimum and may have induced greater conservatism in recent years. The research also found that the impact of children has grown stronger over time. It is argued that the increasing impact of children, as well as the increasingly divergent effects on women and men, is the product of two related forces: the changing nature of the American family, particularly as regards the role of mothers, and its politicisation.

Development issues in global governance: public-private partnerships and market multilateralism

B. Bull and D. McNeill

Abingdon: Routledge, 2007

The United Nations, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations are increasingly working with private actors, including for-profit companies and corporations, business organizations and private foundations. Such increased corporate involvement could threaten the legitimacy of multilateral organizations and this book assesses this threat, while providing a comprehensive cross-sector analysis of public-private partnerships (PPP) and detailed case studies on:

  • The pharmaceutical industry, exploring health initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • The International Labour Organization and the fight against child labour.
  • UNESCO and the partnerships with INTEL and Microsoft to develop educational material and community centres for increasing computer literacy in the developing world.
  • The World Bank and PPP efforts to improve water supplies in developing countries, critical for sustainable development, environmental integrity and the alleviation of poverty and hunger.

The impact of welfare and labour market institutions on informal recruitment in European youth labour markets

I. Harsløf

European Societies, vol.8, 2006, p.555-576

For young unemployed persons with limited work experience, personal contacts may be of great importance for their chances of finding a job. This disadvantages young people with attenuated or inappropriate social networks. However there is considerable variation across European countries in the prevalence of informal recruitment. Analyses of survey data among young people with a history of long-term unemployment in eight European countries suggest that comprehensive welfare state services may substitute for personal network resources in the job search process. The welfare state may intervene by providing job search support, training and cash benefits that make young people less dependant on their social networks. Informal recruitment is also more widespread in countries with high rates of youth unemployment.

The limits of social solidarity: basic income, immigration and the legitimacy of the universal welfare state

A.-H. Bay and A.W. Pedersen

Acta Sociologica, vol.49, 2006, p.419-436

This article uses survey data to study the reactions of the Norwegian electorate to the idea of introducing an unconditional basic income for all residents. Initially, two-thirds of the sample were sympathetic to the idea of a universal basic income. Support for the proposal crumbled, however, when it was pointed out to respondents that the basic income scheme would include immigrants as well as citizens. There is therefore some evidence that mass immigration and increasing ethnic diversity challenges the legitimacy of the universal welfare state.

Neoliberalism, institutional change and the welfare state: the case of Britain and France

B. Kus

International Journal of Comparative Sociology, vol.47, 2006, p.488-525

In both Britain and France the transition to neoliberal economic policies occurred in response to crises in the 1970s. However, consistent with the differences in the way in which the two countries came to diagnose the nature of their respective economic problems, the policy manifestations of neoliberalism remained different in each. In Britain, where the crisis was diagnosed as arising from Keynesian economic policies, neoliberalism emerged as a radical anti-Keynesian movement. The welfare state, a fundamental Keynesian institution, was diagnosed as part of the problem and attacked. In France, where the crisis was thought to arise from declining competitiveness due to ineffective dirigiste policies, neoliberal reforms focused on industrial policy. The welfare state was not associated with dirigisme and remained resilient.

Social policy and immigrant joblessness in Britain, Germany and Sweden

C. Kesler

Social Forces, vol.85, 2006, p.743-770

Many industrialised countries will face financially insolvent welfare states in the coming decades as populations age and ratios of workers to pensioners decline. Immigration has been presented as a solution to this problem, but many immigrants, especially in Western European countries, end up unemployed or under-employed. If immigration is to economically benefit host countries, they must address the issue of immigrant joblessness. This paper examines patterns of joblessness among immigrant men and women living in Sweden, Germany and Britain. It shows that the gap between labour market participation of immigrants and natives is largest in Sweden. This may be due to probable lack of knowledge of Swedish among newly arrived immigrants, and weak anti-discrimination laws. Immigrants in Germany are less likely to be competing directly with natives for jobs, and find work in low-skilled manufacturing industries. They are also at risk of losing their residence status if they apply for social assistance. Britain’s low levels of social welfare provision for immigrants may also have the effect of forcing them into undesirable jobs.

Trust in the capability of the welfare state and general welfare state support: Sweden 1997-2002

J. Edlund

Acta Sociologica, vol. 49, 2006, p.395-417

It is argued that, if citizens’ experiences of the state tell them that the government is efficacious, fair and trustworthy, then they will be more likely to support publicly financed welfare policies than if their experiences with government feed perceptions of unfairness, corruption, etc. An analysis of Swedish nationally representative survey data finds little evidence that distrust in the institutional capability of the welfare state has translated into widespread anti-welfare state sentiments. For many citizens, distrust in the capability of the welfare state is an issue of insufficient resources and they are willing to increase social spending in order to improve services. For other citizens, distrust is closely connected with anti-welfare state sentiments.

Welfare state matters: a typological multilevel analysis of wealthy countries

H. Chung and C. Muntaner

Health Policy, vol.80, 2007, p.328-339

Building on the social science literature, the authors tested the hypothesis that population health indicators in wealthy, industrialised countries “cluster” around welfare state regime types. Data for 19 wealthy countries covering the years 1960 to 1994 were categorised into four different types of welfare regime (social democratic, Christian democratic, liberal and wage earner welfare states). Outcome variables were infant mortality rate and low birth weight rate. Through the 39 years analysed, social democratic countries exhibited a significantly better population health status, ie lower infant mortality and low birth weight rates, than other countries.

Why are they doing it? Social democracy and market-oriented welfare state reforms

M.B. Klitgaard

West European Politics, vol. 30, 2007, p.172-194

Power resource theorists have argued over the past 20 years that social democratic governments favour and promote the development of universal welfare states. However, social democratic governments in both Sweden and Denmark have introduced market-oriented reforms and retrenchments in their universal welfare states since the late 1980s. This article proposes an explanation for this paradox. The author argues that social democratic governments will introduce market-oriented reforms when they perceive that popular support for the universal welfare state is being undermined by policy problems. This argument is applied to an analysis of market-oriented reforms in the public school system and unemployment insurance in Sweden and Denmark in the 1980s and 1990s.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web