When hassle means help: the international lessons of conditional welfare

Document type
Policy Exchange
Date of publication
10 October 2008
Social Policy, Employment
Social welfare
Material type

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This paper examines conditional welfare reforms in five countries – Australia, Sweden, the United States, Norway and Germany.   Conditional welfare attaches requirements to the receipt of benefit payments, such as undergoing training, reporting to agencies regularly or facing penalties for failing to satisfy certain conditions. It is based on the idea that people receiving benefits find it easier and more attractive to do so than to be financially self-sufficient through employment, and that people are defrauding the system by working whilst claiming benefits.  The essays look at the policies introduced in these five countries, how they have affected the number of benefit claimants and the impacts on welfare spending.  The authors recommend that aspects of these conditionality-based reforms be included in welfare-to-work policies in the UK. 

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