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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Haomiao Zhang

This paper aims to analyze the three issues about China's social assistance programs and put forward some suggestions separately.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the three issues about China's social assistance programs and put forward some suggestions separately.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative research, mainly using documentary analysis.

Findings

The paper finds that China's urban and rural social assistance, minimum living standard security and special assistance programs, China's social assistance and the other parts of social security such as social insurance and social welfare are in need of closer coordination.

Originality/value

This paper presents a valuable idea about the need for the coordination of China's social assistance programs.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 29 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 6 August 2014

Sarah Carpentier, Karel Neels and Karel Van den Bosch

The administration of social assistance benefits is devolved to local agencies in Belgium, which raises questions about how much variation in spell lengths of benefit…

Abstract

The administration of social assistance benefits is devolved to local agencies in Belgium, which raises questions about how much variation in spell lengths of benefit receipt is associated with differences across agencies. We address this issue by analysing the monthly hazard of benefit exit using administrative record data for 14,270 individuals in 574 welfare agencies. Our random-effects model allows for differences in both the observed and unobserved characteristics of beneficiaries and of local agencies. There are large differences in median benefit duration for individuals serviced by different welfare agencies: the range is from two months to more than 24 months. We find strong associations between beneficiary characteristics (sex, age, foreign nationality, citizenship acquisition, work history and being a student) and spell length. The estimates show higher odds of exiting social assistance receipt in bigger municipalities and in agencies which provide more generous supplementary assistance, and also strong evidence of shorter episodes in agencies where active labour market programme participation rates are higher.

Details

Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-110-7

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Benjamin Fuchs

Poverty transitions can be explained by two opposing theories: the traditional sociological approach that focusses on social stratification and individualisation theory…

Abstract

Purpose

Poverty transitions can be explained by two opposing theories: the traditional sociological approach that focusses on social stratification and individualisation theory, which emphasises on life course risks for all strata. Both perspectives have been investigated extensively for income poverty while neglecting other important poverty indicators, such as deprivation or the receipt of social assistance. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the latter to investigate the impact of social stratification (e.g. social class), life course risks (e.g. health problems), and their interactions on the probability of social assistance entry for Germany.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis utilises survey data containing a sample of first-time social assistance entrants and a sample of the residential population. Applying case-control methodology, logistic regression is conducted to model the impact of social stratification determinants, life course risks, and their interactions on the probability of social assistance entry.

Findings

Social stratification determinants, particularly social class, have a significant effect. However, their effect is weaker than the effect of life course risks. Contrary to the prediction of individualisation theory, the poverty-triggering impact of life course risks varies substantially by social stratum. The combination of both theories yields high predictive power.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to comprehensively test social stratification and individualisation theory with respect to social assistance receipt as a poverty indicator. It is the first paper that investigates the entire population at risk of social assistance entry in Germany.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 13/14
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1979

Z.A. Spindler and W.S. Gilbreath

This article investigates whether selected features of the Canada Assistance Plan and various economic, demographic, and political factors have had any significant effect…

Abstract

This article investigates whether selected features of the Canada Assistance Plan and various economic, demographic, and political factors have had any significant effect on the social assistance participation rates in Canadian provinces. The first section reviews the background to the cuirent social assistance programme in Canada and draws attention to some questions of major interest. The second section describes a reduced form model that was used for ordinary least squares estimation with pooled cross‐section, time‐series data drawn from post‐Plan experience (i.e., 1968–75). The third section presents the results of that estimation while the fourth section presents an analysis of them. The fifth and final section tentatively concludes that “Plan variables” were of less importance than “Non‐Plan variables” in determining provincial social assistance participation rates.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2013

Björn Anders Gustafsson

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the issue of social assistance receipt among immigrants to Sweden and compare to receipt by natives.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the issue of social assistance receipt among immigrants to Sweden and compare to receipt by natives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the institutional background, reports statistical information and surveys the literature on the immigrant‐native disparity in social assistance receipt.

Findings

Most out‐payment for social assistance in Sweden refers to foreign‐born persons, a category comprising 14 percent of the population. Immigrants tend to assimilate out of social assistance receipt. However, receipt continues to be higher many years after immigration among immigrants from non‐rich countries than for natives with several identical characteristics. The elevated probabilities of social assistance receipt among immigrants from non‐rich countries are interpreted to be mainly due to failed integration into the labor market at the destination.

Practical implications

Policies for integrating immigrants into the labor market are also policies for reducing social assistance receipt among immigrants and reducing immigrant‐native social assistance disparity. However, other factors such as the structure of Swedish welfare policy play a role as well.

Originality/value

This is the first survey of the literature on disparities in social assistance receipt between immigrants and natives in Sweden.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 6 August 2014

Sebastian Königs

I study state dependence in social assistance receipt in Germany using annual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 1995–2011. There is…

Abstract

I study state dependence in social assistance receipt in Germany using annual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 1995–2011. There is considerable observed state dependence, with an average persistence rate in benefits of 68 per cent comparing to an average entry rate of just above 3 per cent. To identify a possible structural component, I estimate a series of dynamic random-effects probit models that control for observed and unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity of initial conditions. I find evidence of substantial structural state dependence in benefit receipt. Estimates suggest that benefit receipt one year ago is associated with an increase in the likelihood of benefit receipt today by a factor of 3.4. This corresponds to an average partial effect of 13 percentage points. Average predicted entry and persistence rates and the absolute level of structural state dependence are higher in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany. I find only little evidence for time variation in state dependence around the years of the Hartz reforms.

Details

Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-110-7

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Haomiao Zhang

The purpose of this paper is to assess China’s urban social assistance policy, mainly by examining the findings of in-depth interviews with urban Dibao recipients in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess China’s urban social assistance policy, mainly by examining the findings of in-depth interviews with urban Dibao recipients in Chengdu about their experiences with social assistance, and by comparing what the social assistance offers with the urban poor households’ actual needs and vulnerabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the author interviewed 15 people from urban Dibao Households in Wuhou District and Qingyang District of Chengdu, China. The interviews were conducted from April to August in 2013, usually in their homes. The small sample naturally limits generalizations, however it can point to directions for future research.

Findings

It is found out that urban Dibao which is the core of social assistance policy provides insufficient cash support and other special assistance programs are more of tokenistic which do not offer much help. Besides, due to lack of psychological aid, many recipients show negative and pessimistic attitudes toward life.

Originality/value

Regarding the assessment of social assistance policy in China, the international literature has shown little interest. Several Chinese scholars have analyzed urban social assistance system, but they tend to examine or assess from the perspective of policy makers and focus on making policy suggestions. Thus, there is not much information about whether what the social assistance offers could meet the urban poor households’ actual needs and vulnerabilities. An interesting endeavor would be to explore and assess the urban social assistance policy from the perspective of the recipients, and this is exactly what this paper aims to do.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 35 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Kerem Gabriel Öktem and Cansu Erdogan

Over the last four decades, Turkey has built an elaborate social assistance regime, which provides extensive coverage of the poor but lacks some of the key characteristics…

Abstract

Purpose

Over the last four decades, Turkey has built an elaborate social assistance regime, which provides extensive coverage of the poor but lacks some of the key characteristics of European minimum income protection systems. The purpose of this paper is to explore what ideational roots underlie the regime and how these ideas and paradigms historically shaped the structure of the regime. The paper focuses on two central social assistance legislations: the social pensions law of 1976 and the Law that established the Fund for the Encouragement of Social Cooperation and Solidarity in 1986.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a discursive institutionalist approach, the paper combines a qualitative content analysis of parliamentary debates and official reports with a policy analysis of social assistance legislations in Turkey.

Findings

The paper shows that two competing policy paradigms shaped the ambivalent structure and design of Turkey social assistance regime: a welfare state paradigm and a state-organised charity paradigm. The welfare state paradigm, which perceives social assistance as a social right, was dominant in the 1970s and is embodied in the social pension programme. The state-organised charity paradigm, which aims to reinvigorate the Islamic tradition of charitable foundations (waqf), was dominant in the 1980s and is embodied in the Fund for the Encouragement of Social Cooperation and Solidarity. Today’s social assistance regime combines both elements in a curious synthesis.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to comparative social policy research and discursive institutionalism by uncovering the historical and ideational foundations of a largely neglected case, social assistance in Turkey.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2017

Anna Sofia Salonen

Recent decades have witnessed a rise in food charity provided by faith-based and other charitable agencies. Previous research has noted that besides material assistance

Abstract

Purpose

Recent decades have witnessed a rise in food charity provided by faith-based and other charitable agencies. Previous research has noted that besides material assistance, these occasions provide a social and communal event for many participants. The purpose of this paper is to examine this notion by exploring how the social organization of breadlines contributes to the social relationships between the food recipients and their experiences of these places as communities, and what qualities these communities eventually develop.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on ethnographic data from four breadlines in one Finnish city. The study approaches the breadlines as queues, that is, social systems that govern waiting, mutual order and access.

Findings

The social organization of queue practices mirrors the users’ experiences of the breadlines as communities with many concurrent faces: as communities of mutual surveillance and as demanding communities that call for skills and resources from the participants, as well as socially significant communities. The findings show how the practices of organizing charitable assistance influence the complex social relationships between charitable giver and recipient, and how the food recipients accommodate themselves to the situations and social roles available on a given occasion.

Originality/value

Analysing breadlines as queues and using qualitative data from the everyday assistance events gives voice to the experiences of food charity recipients and allows a more nuanced picture to be painted of the breadline communities than studies based merely on surveys or interviews.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Rik van Berkel

The aim of this paper is to make a preliminary assessment of the impacts of the decentralisation of Dutch social assistance.

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1734

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to make a preliminary assessment of the impacts of the decentralisation of Dutch social assistance.

Design/methodology/approach

Even though decentralisation is often promoted as a new governance instrument, balancing centralised and decentralised aspects has been a feature of Social Assistance systems for a long time. This article describes how processes of decentralisation in Dutch Social Assistance in the context of activating the Dutch welfare state are determined by two core objectives: on the one hand, to give local authorities more autonomy in designing and delivering activation services; on the other hand, to ensure that national social policy objectives are implemented at the local level. Specific attention is paid to the most recent decentralisation development which made municipalities financially responsible for social assistance expenditure. Building on the results of some preliminary evaluation and effect studies, this article assesses the impact of decentralisation.

Findings

The findings show that decentralising financial responsibility has had a clear impact on local policies: preventing social assistance dependency and promoting social assistance exit have become major concerns of many Dutch municipalities.

Research limitations/implications

As the latest decentralisation reform is recent, research results are preliminary at this stage. Future evaluation research should focus on a broader set of success criteria than the reduction of social assistance expenditure only.

Practical implications

The article discusses some fundamental issues often neglected by those advocating decentralisation: how do local social policies influence labour‐market developments? To what degree does inter‐municipal variation reflect different local needs? What is the impact of decentralisation on equality and equal treatment? Decentralisation may be necessary in order to make social services more effective and tailor made, but it certainly is not free from risks.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the debate on the risks and opportunities of decentralisation of social assistance on the basis of empirical evidence and practical experiences.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 26 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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