Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy: Western States in the New World Order

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"Extremely coherent and useful, this much needed volume is concerned with the current status of the poor in Western industrial states. Its closely linked essays allow comparisons between case studies and are often themselves cross-national comparisons....The essays also comment on the meaning of globalization for social policy." —Choice

"Excellent and tightly integrated articles by a group of prominent international scholars....A timely and important book, which will surely become the basic reference point for all future research on inequality and social policy." —Contemporary Sociology

The social safety net is under strain in all Western nations, as social and economic change has created problems that traditional welfare systems were not designed to handle. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy provides a definitive analysis of the conditions that are fraying the social fabric and the reasons why some countries have been more successful than others in addressing these trends. In the United States, where the poverty rate in the 1980s was twice that of any advanced nation in Europe, the social protection system—and public support for it—has eroded alarmingly. In Europe, the welfare system more effectively buffered the disadvantaged, but social expenditures have been indicted by many as the principal cause of high unemployment.

Concluding chapters review the progress and goals of social welfare programs, assess their viability in the face of creeping economic, racial, and social fragmentation, and define the challenges that face those concerned with social cohesion and economic prosperity in the new global economy. This volume illuminates the disparate effects of government intervention on the incidence and duration of poverty in Western countries. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy is full of lessons for anyone who would look beyond the limitations of the welfare debate in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

The outcome of a major project, this volume provides a comprehensive account of how rapid technological advances, industrial globalization, loss of low-wage jobs, increased numbers of single-mother families, and new patterns of immigration have placed tremendous strain on social welfare programs designed for a more stable, homogeneous period. Part I contains comparative analyses of income, poverty, and workforce trends in a number of Western nations in the 1980s. Parts II to IV focus on policies affecting young adults, lone parents, and ethnic minorities in specific countries. Part V reviews the trends and findings from the earlier chapters and discusses their implications for future policy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871545930
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 768
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHERINE McFATE is associate director for social policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington.

ROGER LAWSON is senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Southampton, England.

WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON is Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Western States in the New World Order 1
Ch. 1 Markets and States: Poverty Trends and Transfer System Effectiveness in the 1980s 29
Ch. 2 Poverty and Social-Assistance Dynamics in the United States, Canada, and Europe
Ch. 3 A Comparison of Poverty and Living Conditions in the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Germany 109
Ch. 4 Labor Insecurity Through Market Regulation: Legacy of the 1980s, Challenge for the 1990s 153
Ch. 5 The Impact of Technological Change, Deindustrialization, and Internationalization of Trade on Earnings Inequality: An International Perspective 197
Ch. 6 Gender Role and Family Structure Changes in the Advanced Industrialized West: Implications for Social Policy 231
Ch. 7 French Policies Towards Lone Parents: Social Categories and Social Policies 257
Ch. 8 Single Mothers in Sweden: Why is Poverty Less Severe? 291
Ch. 9 Lone Parents: the Canadian Experience 327
Ch. 10 Single Mother Families and Social Policy: Lessons for the United States from Canada, France, and Sweden 367
Ch. 11 Is there a Problem with the Youth Labor Market, and if so, How Should We Fix It? 387
Ch. 12 Apprentice Training in Germany: The Experiences of the 1980s 415
Ch. 13 Special Measures to Improve Youth Employment in Italy 439
Ch. 14 Postindustrialization and Youth Unemployment: African Americans as Harbingers 461
Ch. 15 Divergent Destinies: Immigration, Poverty, and Entrepreneurship in the United States 489
Ch. 16 The Impact of Economic Change on Minorities and Migrants in Western Europe 521
Ch. 17 The Comparative Structure and Experience of Urban Exclusion: "Race," Class, and Space in Chicago and Paris 543
Ch. 18 Immigration, Marginality, and French Social Policy 571
Ch. 19 Poverty, Immigration, and Minority Groups: Policies Toward Minorities in Great Britain 585
Ch. 20 Ethnic Minorities in the Netherlands 607
Ch. 21 Trampolines, Safety Nets, or Free Fall? Labor Market Policies and Social Assistance in the 1980s 631
Ch. 22 The Social Question 665
Ch. 23 Poverty, Social Rights, and the Quality of Citizenship 693
Name Index 715
Subject Index 723
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