Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2007): Social security - overseas

Australian welfare reform: a policy model?

D. Finn

Working Brief, issue 184, 2007, p. 10-13

British policy makers are currently drawing inspiration from Australia, where a privatised Job Network provides employment services to the unemployed and increasingly to other people of working age. Contracts with private sector providers are managed by the Commonwealth Department for Employment and Workplace Relations. Benefit payments continue to be administered through the public sector agency Centrelink.

Does a minimum job search requirement reduce time on unemployment payments? Evidence from the Jobseeker Diary in Australia

J. Borland and Y.-P. Tseng

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol. 60, 2007, p. 357-378

This study examines a large-scale intervention intended to increase the job search effort of unemployed persons in Australia. The intervention, the Jobseeker Diary (JSD), is a work search verification programme that requires unemployment benefit recipients to complete a fortnightly diary in which details of a specified minimum number of job applications must be recorded. Applying a quasi-experimental matching method to data on unemployment spells occurring in 1997-98, the authors found that JSD participation was associated with an increased rate of exit from unemployment benefit receipt and a shorter total time spent on payments. Payment receipt duration is estimated to have fallen for about one half of JSD participants.

German employment services: after Hartz

J. Lange

Working Brief, issue 184, 2007, p. 14-17

In contrast to current international trends towards the contracting out of employment services to the private sector, public provision in Germany has been strengthened by the reform process. Steering of private providers has become more hierarchical compared to the “network governance” of the pre-reform era, although it is increasingly based on private instead of public law. However, new pilot programmes for the contracting out of employment services are planned, with higher quantities, longer durations and more flexibility for providers.

Paternity leave in Sweden: costs, savings and health gains

A. Månsdotter, L. Lindholm and A. Winkvist

Health Policy, vol. 82, 2007, p. 102-115

A reform permitting fathers to take paid parental leave was introduced in Sweden in 1974. This paper explores the possibility that paternity leave may have led to health improvements among men. The cost-effectiveness analysis considered costs for information, administration and production losses, minus savings due to decreased sick leave and inpatient care, compared to health gains in life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYS). The study demonstrated that fathers who took paternity leave in 1978-79 have lower death risks than fathers who did not. Costs minus savings (discounted values) stretch from a net cost of euros 19 million to a net saving of euros 11 million, and the base case cost-effectiveness is euros 8,000 per QALY.

Single mothers working at night: standard work and child care subsidies

E. Tekin

Economic Inquiry, vol.45, 2007, p.233-250

This article examines the effect of child care subsidies in the US on labour market participation by single mothers. Results of analysis of data from the 1999 National Survey of America’s Families suggest that child care subsidy receipt is associated with a 7% increase in the probability of working at a standard 8.00am to 6.00pm job. When the effect of the subsidy is allowed to differ between welfare benefits recipients and non-recipients, results indicate that subsidy receipt has a large and positive effect among welfare recipients, whereas the effect on non-recipients is much smaller. These findings emphasise the importance of child care subsidies in helping low-income parents gain employment.

The U.S. - changes afoot

N. Branosky

Working Brief, issue 184, 2007, p. 3, 18-19

The implementation of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act reduced welfare caseloads in the USA by 60%. However, many of those leaving the welfare rolls ended up in low-paid and insecure employment. Following the November 2006 mid-term elections, the Democratic Party gained control of both the House and the Senate. The new Democratic Congress is giving a high priority to eradicating poverty and increasing income security for Americans. Measures introduced include an increase in the federal minimum wage and reinforcement of workers’ right to organise.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web