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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Tijs Laenen and Dimitri Gugushvili

In the social policy literature, it is often assumed that universal policies are more popular than selective ones among the public, because they supposedly generate…

Abstract

Purpose

In the social policy literature, it is often assumed that universal policies are more popular than selective ones among the public, because they supposedly generate broader self-interested coalitions and are considered morally superior. The present article revisits and challenges this assumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The article critically reviews the existing empirical literature on public support for universal and means-tested welfare schemes.

Findings

The main conclusion is that the popularity of universal vis-à-vis selective welfare remains very much an open question. First, the studies that are typically cited to support the claim that universalism is indeed more popular are inconclusive because they conflate the institutional design of welfare programs with their respective target groups. Second, there is considerable variation in public support for universal and selective welfare across countries, time and policy domains.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that future research should focus on scrutinizing under which circumstances – when, where and why – universal social policies are more popular than selective ones.

Originality/value

The article makes an original case for considering perceived welfare deservingness of social policies' target groups alongside the policy design when studying popular support for differently targeted welfare schemes.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Anthony Saunders and Ingo Walter

Considers universal banking’s role in the evolution of national financial systems, notably with respect to their role in overall economic performance. Deals with…

Abstract

Considers universal banking’s role in the evolution of national financial systems, notably with respect to their role in overall economic performance. Deals with conceptual and empirical evidence regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the financial services industry, with special relevance to the Asia‐Pacific region. Develops a typology of intra‐ and inter‐sectoral M&A transactions among banks, insurance companies and securities firms, and examines the global deal flow during the 11‐year 1985‐1995 period. Discusses the dynamics of M&A transactions in the financial services industry, notably with respect to exploitation of economies of scale and economies of scope that are core to the universal banking concept. Develops the implications for the Asia‐Pacific region, with reference to the static and dynamic efficiency properties of national financial systems.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 34 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2020

Dimitri Gugushvili and Wim van Oorschot

Whether welfare provision should be broad-based or selectively targeted at the poor is one of the most common themes in social policy discourse. However, empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

Whether welfare provision should be broad-based or selectively targeted at the poor is one of the most common themes in social policy discourse. However, empirical evidence concerning people's preferences about these distributive justice principles is very limited. The current paper aims to bridge this gap, by analyzing Europeans' opinions about a hypothetical transformation of the welfare state that would provide social transfers and services only to people on low incomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis draws on data from the 2016 European Social Survey and covers 21 countries. In order to understand what would motivate people to support the complete means testing of welfare provision, we use multilevel models with individual-level and contextual predictors.

Findings

The results show that the upper and middle classes are the most opposed to the idea, presumably as they would be the net losers from such a reform. Furthermore, our results indicate that more-egalitarian people show a higher level of support for means testing, even though the political left has traditionally promoted universalism. Some key characteristics of the welfare state also matter: People are more likely to endorse complete means testing in countries with less-generous provision and a higher incidence of poverty. However, the extent to which the existing welfare state relies on means testing has no influence on people's opinions about implementing a fully means-tested welfare model.

Practical implications

Some of the key findings are likely to be of interest to activists advocating on behalf of the poor and the socially vulnerable. Although it is generally assumed that universal provision is the best strategy to address the needs of disadvantaged people, our results suggest that from an electoral point of view, targeting within universalism may be a more appealing welfare strategy.

Originality/value

This paper details one of the very few studies to examine preferences for means-tested welfare provision in a comparative context. In addition, one of the contextual variables used in the analysis – the proportion of means-tested social benefits out of the total expenditure on social benefits – is unique to this study.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 9 May 2018

Lucy Hunter Blackburn

This chapter considers how far political devolution has enabled the government in Wales to develop a distinctive approach to student funding. It examines in particular…

Abstract

This chapter considers how far political devolution has enabled the government in Wales to develop a distinctive approach to student funding. It examines in particular claims that policy choices in Wales on student funding reflect a commitment to ‘progressive universalism’, a term sometimes used by policy-makers in Wales and elsewhere to describe combining means-tested and non-means-tested benefits. The chapter also explores the growing use of income-contingent loans, arguing that such loans complicate debates about targeting and universalism.

Details

Higher Education Funding and Access in International Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-651-6

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2021

Irene Landini

The present article deals with the topic of migrants’ exclusion from welfare benefits in European host countries from the angle of the research on the so-called “welfare…

Abstract

Purpose

The present article deals with the topic of migrants’ exclusion from welfare benefits in European host countries from the angle of the research on the so-called “welfare chauvinism” (Andersen and Bjørklund 1990, p. 212). More specifically, it explores the political justifications behind welfare chauvinism in the policy debate surrounding some recent chauvinist-oriented social policies. Drawing on that, the article develops a theoretical argument to generate expectations about how politicians use different types of justifications. The fundamental proposition is that the chauvinistic arguments used are shaped by the different types of social programs, i.e. either universal or means-tested programs.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative content analysis of several selected parliamentary debates in the period 2017–2019 in Austria is carried out. In order to improve the efficiency of the research, the author relies on MAXQDA, an advanced piece of software for qualitative data analysis, to code the qualitative data and analyze them. The author prefers this to other similar programs as it is considered a valid and reliable tool within the academic research world.

Findings

The article points out that programs design works as an explanatory factor to highlight variations of welfare chauvinist arguments.

Originality/value

It develops for the first time a theoretical argument explaining the presence and variation of welfare chauvinist arguments based on social programs design.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2010

Ce Shen and John B. Williamson

This paper aims to describe China's need for old‐age pension coverage in its rural areas, to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the new rural pension system…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe China's need for old‐age pension coverage in its rural areas, to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the new rural pension system currently being implemented, and to suggest some needed reforms.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper's analysis is based largely on evidence from Chinese government documents, newspaper reports, and research reports including those discussing related programs in rural areas of other developing countries. This evidence is supplemented with a small number of interviews with government officials, Chinese academics, and farmers living in rural China.

Findings

China has recently started a major effort to bring old‐age pension coverage to rural China. While it is too early to know how successful this effort will be, there are some structural issues that should be addressed. The paper's major conclusion is that the current funded accounts component needs to be supplemented with a modest social pension scheme.

Originality/value

To date next to nothing has been published for an academic audience about this major new and first ever countrywide old‐age pension program for rural China. If successful, this program has the potential to stimulate efforts in many other developing nations around the world to provide pension coverage in rural areas. The paper analyzes the program, uncovers some serious limitations, and proposes changes to deal with those limitations.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 30 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2000

Tindara Addabbo and Massimo Baldini

Poverty dynamics and the ability of the Italian welfare system to reduce poverty are investigated by using the 1991‐1995 panel of the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household…

Abstract

Poverty dynamics and the ability of the Italian welfare system to reduce poverty are investigated by using the 1991‐1995 panel of the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth. Households most exposed to poverty live in the South, have a larger size, a young or female head, with a low educational level or a discontinuous work profile. The dynamic and static effectiveness (in terms of poverty reduction) of social transfers is analysed, as well as the factors affecting exclusion from the safety net. A closer look is taken at the effects of a minimum income guarantee in the experimental phase in Italy.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 21 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2017

Lisa Pasolli

This chapter considers the interwoven history of child care advocacy and feminism in Canada. It begins by examining the efforts of second-wave feminists to make child care…

Abstract

This chapter considers the interwoven history of child care advocacy and feminism in Canada. It begins by examining the efforts of second-wave feminists to make child care part of national political discussions. It then moves into the 1980s and 1990s, when, as part of broader neoliberal reforms, feminist demands were no longer foregrounded in child care advocacy. Instead, ‘social investment’ and childhood development rationales took centre stage. This chapter considers the implications of the ‘disappearing woman’ from child care advocacy, and concludes by making a case for the ongoing relevance of intersectional feminism to the child care landscape, to ensure that all women are offered meaningful choice, opportunities and rights when it comes to their roles as caregivers and workers.

Details

Global Currents in Gender and Feminisms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-484-2

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2017

Julia Höppner

The purpose of this paper is to explain the rather large difference in the take-up of the cash-for-childcare (CFC) benefit between Norway and Sweden.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the rather large difference in the take-up of the cash-for-childcare (CFC) benefit between Norway and Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative approach is employed, including the analysis of descriptive statistics of data on parents’ attitudes concerning the distribution of paid work and care and a robust regression analysis of data on parents’ behaviour regarding the distribution of paid work and care.

Findings

The results show that attitudes regarding childcare and mothers’ and fathers’ employment differ in the two countries. Swedish parents support public childcare and a gender equal employment distribution more than Norwegians. Thereby, attitudinal differences explain why Norwegian parents use the benefit more frequently. The findings indicate that in Sweden, parents’ socioeconomic background affects the duration of public childcare to a lesser extent than in Norway. Nevertheless, the economic incentives of the CFC benefit are more attractive for families with lower socioeconomic status. This explains why Swedes respond less to the incentives of the CFC benefit than Norwegians.

Originality/value

While previous research has focussed on the effect of policies on the take-up of the CFC benefit, this study shows that parents’ attitudes and behaviour are important explanatory variables to explain differences in the take-up of the benefit.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2018

GuÐný Björk Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Nordic welfare model is known in the literature for its explicit support of the equal treatment of men and women in both family and gender equality policies as well as…

Abstract

The Nordic welfare model is known in the literature for its explicit support of the equal treatment of men and women in both family and gender equality policies as well as its achievements in these policy areas. Policy arguments have to promote gender equality and act in the best interest of the child, ensuring that the child access to care from both parents as well as to early childhood education and care. However, the knowledge of how the Nordic welfare states frame and promote active fatherhood remains fragmented.

The chapter asks whether the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have developed similar policies on fatherhood or have taken different paths. Hence, the chapter examines three main policy areas affecting fatherhood: family law, family cash benefits and paid parental leave. Comparative perspective is applied and the chapter asks how the policies frame and promote active fatherhood while also looking into how fatherhood is shaped in interaction between policies, cultures and the daily practices of fathers.

Results show that while all Nordic governments promote a dual-earner/dual-carer social democratic welfare state model emphasizing the active participation of fathers in the care of their children, variations exist in policy and practices. Care policies and entitlements to a father quota of paid parental leave are a defining factor for enhancing fathers’ role in care of their children and the findings show that Nordic fathers are making use of their quota and gradually increasing their share in taking leave for the care of young children.

Details

Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-042-6

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