Policy Press

What future for social security?

Debates and reforms in national and cross-national perspective

By Jochen Clasen


Jul 27, 2002

Page count

304 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
What future for social security?

It is widely assumed today that the 'welfare state' is contracting or retrenching as an effect of the close scrutiny to which entitlement to social security benefits is being subject in most developed countries. In this book, fifteen authorities from nine different countries - the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the US - investigate to what extent this assumption is warranted.

Taking into account developments and initiatives at every administrative level from sub-national employment agencies to the OECD and the World Bank, they draw on both data and theories in a broad spectrum of related disciplines, including political science, economics, sociology, and law. Detailed materials allow the reader to formulate well-defined responses to such crucial questions as:

is there indeed waning public support for social security?;

is the 'demographic time bomb' of an ageing population as serious as we are often led to believe?;

how seriously do supranational reform proposals tend to underestimate cross-national differences?;

to what degree is 'activation policy' merely rhetorical?;

to what extent do employment office staff reformulate and redefine policies 'on the ground' to accommodate specific case-by-case realities?

Specific criteria for entitlement (eg disability) and such central issues as 'gendered' assumptions, access to benefit programmes, and the involvement of trade unions are examined in a variety of contexts. As an authoritative assessment of the current state of social security reform - its critical issues, its direction, and its potential impacts - What future for social security? is an incomparable work and is sure to be of great value to academics as well as professionals and officials concerned with social programmes at any government level.

"This collection contains important reflections on emerging themes in social security. Anyone concerned with how welfare provision is being shaped for the future would be well advised to invest in this book." Katherine Rake, ESRC SAGE Research Group, London School of Economics

Jochen Clasen is Professor of Comparative Social Research at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, University of Stirling.

Contents:Social security in the new millennium ~ Jochen Clasen; Part I: Debates: Rising tides and rusty boats: economic position of the poor I 1985-1995 ~ Olli Kangas; Popular support for social security. A sociological perspective ~ Wim van Oorschot; Non-discriminating social policy? Policy scenarios for meeting needs without categorisation ~ Helen Bolderson and Deborah Mabbet; Equality, employment and state social policies: a gendered perspective ~ Ann Shola Orloff; Europeanisation and decentralisation of welfare 'safety nets' ~ Luis Moreno; Part II: Reforms: A: Reforms in theoretical perspective: Beyond entrenchment: four problems in current welfare state research and one suggestion how to overcome them ~ Bruno Palier; Change without challenge? Welfare states, social construction of challenge and dynamics of path dependency ~ Jørgen Goul Andersen; B: Reforming pension systems: Public expenditure and population ageing: why families of nations are different ~ Francis G. Castles; Ageing and public pension reforms in Western Europe and North America: patterns and politics ~ Karl Hinrichs; The redistributional impact of a world bank 'pension regime' ~ Einer Overbye; C: Activation reforms: Activating welfare states. How social policies can provide employment ~ Jon Kvist; Welfare to work and the organisation of opportunity: European and American approaches form a British perspective ~ Martin Evans; Activating the unemployed: the street-level implementation of UK policy ~ Sharon Wright.

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