"A thoughtful assessment of socioeconomic needs and influences, observing the necessity for benefits as well as the lessons of experience offered by various nations"Library Bookwatch Over the last two decades, aging populations, changing family structures, market forces of globalization, strains of immigration, and political and ideological realignments have joined to create powerful pressures that are reshaping the design and philosophy of social welfare policies. Changing Patterns of Social Protection analyzes emerging patterns of social welfare and the implications of these trends for the future of social protection to vulnerable groups in France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. Examining central policy trends in these countries, contributors explore current reforms of mainline programs: old age pensions, disability and unemployment insurance, family assistance, health care, and social services. The findings highlight how modern dynamics of social protection are manifest through reforms that include diverse social and economic incentives, changing benefit structures, a wide range of work-oriented measures, the resurgence of private activity, and current approaches to targeting benefits. Assessments of the socioeconomic influences that have precipitated these reforms reveal a broad range of common factors as well as country-specific influences such as the clientelistic approach to welfare in Italy, the complexities of reunification in Germany, and the "Dutch disease" of explosive claims for disability benefits. Changing Patterns of Social Protection offers insights into the issues raised by these policy reforms and their possible effects. By clarifying alternative policy designs this work affords a fresh perspective on how to think about the changing structure and function of social welfare arrangements in modern society. Neil Gilbert is Chernin Professor of Social Services and Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Center for Comparative Study of Family Welfare and Poverty Research. His numerous publications include twenty-five books and 100 articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Society, Commentary, and leading academic journals. Rebecca A. Van Voorhis is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Services at the California State University, Hayward. Her publications include Activating the Unemployed and articles in Sociology and Social Welfare, European Journal of Social Work, and Children and Youth Services Review.
About the Author
Neil Gilbert is the Chemin Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent books include Changing Patterns of Social Protection (edited with Rebecca A. Van Voorhis), Welfare Reform: A Comparative Assessment of the French and U.S. Experiences (edited with Antoine Parent), and Transformation of the Welfare State.
Rebecca Van Voorhis is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the State University of California, Hayward.