A COAT OF MANY COLOURS: WELFARE REFORM AROUND THE WORLD.BACKGROUND
Suddenly, welfare reform(1) is a hot topic. Although welfare administrators and decisionmakers have been grappling with welfare reform issues for the best part of two decades, much of this effort has been away from the centre of public attention. In the last few years, however, welfare reform has suddenly become a very public and visible issue with a high political profile, despite the risks. These risks are not negligible, as Pierson (1994) has noted. The process of expansion of the welfare state is quite different from the process of retrenchment re·trench·ment
The cutting away of superfluous tissue. : the former is characterised by credit-claiming as benefits are extended to ever wider groups, while the latter is characterised by blame-avoidance as entitlements are progressively shrunk shrunk
A past tense and a past participle of shrink.
a past tense and past participle of shrink
shrunk, shrunken shrink . In addition, the losses in welfare reform are typically concentrated on quite specific groups who are likely to organise against them, while the gains are more generally spread across the general population through a slight lessening of the tax burden.
Welfare reform is not all retrenchment, however, although it is likely to involve significant losses for larger or smaller groups. And, despite Pierson, there must now be a sense in which the potential gains are being regarded as more generally perceptible per·cep·ti·ble
Capable of being perceived by the senses or the mind: perceptible sounds in the night.
[Late Latin perceptibilis, from Latin perceptus . Certainly, the way the issue has been placed on the public agenda by political leaders suggests (if one accepts the proposition that politicians are naturally selected for a highly developed capacity to sniff changes in the winds of public opinion) that there may now be a significant public constituency for fundamental changes to the welfare state.
As in many other spheres, the trend has been set by the U.S., where welfare reform assumed a prominent position at the top of the domestic policy agenda in the mid 1990s, as evidenced by President Clinton's promise to "end welfare as we know it". Welfare reform was also a prominent plank of the 1997 electoral platform of the British Labour Party Noun 1. British Labour Party - a political party formed in Great Britain in 1900; characterized by the promotion of labor's interests and formerly the socialization of key industries
Labour Party, Labour, Labor which, once elected to government, issued a Green Paper setting out both the case for reform and its plans for change. In New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. , too, welfare reform has suddenly become a big topic, with a number of highly significant changes being announced in the past two years.
It is not the intention of this paper to dwell on to continue long on or in; to remain absorbed with; to stick to; to make much of; as, to dwell upon a subject; a singer dwells on a note s>.
See also: Dwell the question why welfare reform has suddenly rocketed to the top of the political agenda: rather the aim is to feel the variable textures of the reforms that have been undertaken to date in different contexts. Welfare reform is not a single idea: like welfare itself, it is a coat of many colours which takes on different hues in different environs. Part of the aim of the paper is to illustrate the nature of its variant mutations under different conditions and to identify the reasons it has assumed its particular forms under different circumstances. It is also the intention, however, to discern dis·cern
v. dis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns
1. To perceive with the eyes or intellect; detect.
2. To recognize or comprehend mentally.
3. patterns in midst of this variation -- to see the cut of the coat, whatever its colour or cloth, and how the fashion is changing -- and to detect parallels and resonances in New Zealand. First, though, it will be useful to start with an examination of the context for welfare reform, by identifying the pressures that have built up and fuelled the boilers in the engine-house of reform.
THE CONTEXT FOR WELFARE REFORM
Over the past two decades, welfare systems all over the world have come under increasing pressure from a number of sources, including demographic change, social transformations, economic difficulties and fiscal pressures.
The demographic changes are well enough known. The demographic bulge Bulge
A slang term used to describe a rapid advance in prices within the commodities market.
A bulge is similar to a rally on equity exchanges.
See also: At The Market, Bear, Break, Bull, Buoyant, Congestion, Rally
Bulge of the immediate post-war years, known as the baby boom, was followed by a "baby bust baby bust
A sudden decline in the birthrate, especially the one in the United States from about 1961 to 1981.
ba " as succeeding generations evinced markedly reduced fertility rates Noun 1. fertility rate - the ratio of live births in an area to the population of that area; expressed per 1000 population per year
birth rate, birthrate, fertility, natality , through the agency of improved fertility control technology. In more recent years, fertility rates across the developed world have continued to decline (in many cases to well below replacement rates, especially in Italy, Spain and Germany but also, outside Europe, in Japan, Singapore and South Korea). The resultant greying of populations places a double pressure on pensions expenditure, through higher projected levels of claims as the baby boomers See generation X. retire which will have to be met by dwindling dwin·dle
v. dwin·dled, dwin·dling, dwin·dles
To become gradually less until little remains.
To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease. numbers of people in the productive work force.
Ageing populations place pressure on social protection expenditure in other ways. As life expectancy Life Expectancy
1. The age until which a person is expected to live.
2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables. increases, a larger slice of the population survives to frail old age, which implies both higher expenditure on health care and higher demand for long-term care long-term care (LTC),
n the provision of medical, social, and personal care services on a recurring or continuing basis to persons with chronic physical or mental disorders. . Added to this is the impact of exponential 1. (mathematics) exponential - A function which raises some given constant (the "base") to the power of its argument. I.e.
f x = b^x
If no base is specified, e, the base of natural logarthims, is assumed.
2. advances in medical technology, which have afforded an enormously enhanced capacity to cure disease and prolong pro·long
tr.v. pro·longed, pro·long·ing, pro·longs
1. To lengthen in duration; protract.
2. To lengthen in extent. life, but which have, as a result, produced an ever-widening gulf between what is possible and what is affordable.
The fertility declines noted above are linked to a wider set of social transformations concerning processes of family formation and dissolution. These changes have been complex but have been partly due to the changing status of women in society and their enhanced economic position through improved access to labour market opportunities. The combined effects of greater economic independence and improved control over fertility have contributed to a decline in the predominance pre·dom·i·nance also pre·dom·i·nan·cy
The state or quality of being predominant; preponderance.
Noun 1. predominance - the state of being predominant over others
predomination, prepotency of nuclear families supported by a male breadwinner bread·win·ner
One whose earnings are the primary source of support for one's dependents.
bread·winning n. and a proliferation proliferation /pro·lif·er·a·tion/ (pro-lif?er-a´shun) the reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells.prolif´erativeprolif´erous
n. of other family types, especially those headed by a lone parent lone parent n → parent m unique
lone parent lone n → Alleinerziehende(r) f(m)
lone parent n (unmarried) (= . Increased rates of lone parenting, evident across the developed world, place additional pressure on social security as such families are vulnerable to financial hardship.
Changing economic conditions have also placed social security systems under additional pressure. Following the oil shocks of the 1970s, most developed economies experienced a period of economic downturn during which the unemployment rolls increased dramatically. These increases in unemployment were not able to be easily reversed even when economic conditions improved and it soon became evident that a qualitative shift had occurred. Full employment could no longer be regarded as a normal condition of the labour markets; instead a new status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. had emerged involving persistently higher rates of unemployment. This new scenario presented a two-fold challenge, through negative impacts on both expenditure and funding. More expenditure was needed to meet the higher levels of claims from those out of work, but at the same time there was increased difficulty in funding the increased demand because of faltering economic performance. Moreover, as unemployment rates remained high, many people who had lost their jobs found it increasingly difficult to find others, which led in turn to rising rates of longer-term dependence on social security. Longer-term recipients of social security posed a special challenge, as the longer they spent out of the work force the harder it became to re-enter re·en·ter also re-en·ter
v. re·en·tered, re·en·ter·ing, re·en·ters
1. To enter or come in to again.
2. To record again on a list or ledger.
Changes in the labour market, and in the nature of work itself, represent an additional challenge. Many social security programmes are aimed at providing short-term assistance to people who have lost jobs until they are able to find another. Underlying this aim is an ideal notion of full-time, secure and permanent employment. But labour markets have been evolving away from this ideal and jobs in the modern labour market are increasingly likely to be part-time, short-term in tenure, or casual in nature. In countries whose systems are founded on social insurance principles, such jobs are less likely to be subject to social insurance coverage, which implies reductions in the insurance contributions base. At the same time, this is likely to give rise to increased pressure on the social assistance tier, since when people in such jobs fall in need of income support, they have no social insurance cover and are obliged o·blige
v. o·bliged, o·blig·ing, o·blig·es
1. To constrain by physical, legal, social, or moral means.
2. to apply for social assistance. More fundamentally, these changes raise questions about whether social security systems are well configured con·fig·ure
tr.v. con·fig·ured, con·fig·ur·ing, con·fig·ures
To design, arrange, set up, or shape with a view to specific applications or uses: to provide support to all people who meet difficulties in the modern labour market.
While the above shifts have resulted in escalating demand for social security expenditure, system administrators are under pressure not only not to increase expenditure but actually to reduce it. In the globalised economy, political leaders face growing pressure to reduce reliance on deficit budgeting in order to maximise competitiveness and to reduce the risk of exposure to adverse international financial flows. As the largest item on the expenditure side, social security is increasingly likely to attract the attention of prudent fiscal managers.
A further element in the mix of ingredients posing a challenge to social security is an expansion in the community of analysts, commentators and advisers giving voice to a range of increasingly trenchant criticisms of the welfare state. Among other things, it is claimed that the welfare state represents a burden on economies and has a negative impact on competitiveness and growth; that the growth of spending on social security has squeezed other desirable spending, for example on health and education; that the expansion in supply of social security programmes fosters an increasing demand for benefits; and that social security benefits dull the incentives for people to make their own way in life. While many of these claims are contested, they add to the pressures that are experienced by social security administrators and contribute to the escalating pressures for change.
A REVIEW OF WELFARE REFORMS IN FOUR SELECTED COUNTRIES
Taken together, these represent a formidable set of challenges for administrators of social security. In response to the pressures for change, a range of reform initiatives has been implemented around the world, with significant variation from country to country. The following discussion provides an account of particular reforms in selected countries.
Four examples have been selected, largely to illustrate the different focus that welfare reform efforts have taken in different countries. In the U.S. the focus has been primarily on lone parents, with the aim of reducing their uptake of welfare and encouraging them to support themselves and their children through employment. In the U.K. attention is more focused on the unemployed (especially young and long-term unemployed) through the New Deal programmes, although similar programmes are also being implemented for lone parents and disabled people. The Netherlands has concentrated on reforming its disability programmes, following a blow-out of titanic Titanic (tītăn`ĭk), British liner that sank on the night of Apr. 14–15, 1912, after crashing into an iceberg in the N Atlantic S of Newfoundland. More than 1,500 lives were lost. proportions in these programmes in the 1980s. In Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. , the rage is all for pension reform, following the lead of Chile in the early 1980s.
As always, context is important in explaining the different focuses in different countries, in the form of prevailing economic conditions, cultural norms, historical development and local institutional preferences. In particular much of the change remains to some degree path-determined by the logic of prior decisions. Despite this, it remains possible to make decisive breaks with the past: indeed the whole process of welfare reform is often an effort to wrest wrest
tr.v. wrest·ed, wrest·ing, wrests
1. To obtain by or as if by pulling with violent twisting movements: wrested the book out of his hands; wrested the islands from the settlers. a new future from the iron jaws of past failure.
UNITED STATES United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.
The welfare reform effort in the U.S. has been highly focused on lone parents. The reason for this is not difficult to discern, as the U.S. has the one of the highest rates of lone parenting in the developed world. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. 1995 Census figures, a third of all families with children aged under 18 (31%) were headed by a lone parent. As high as this rate is, it pales into wan insignificance in·sig·nif·i·cance
The quality or state of being insignificant.
Noun 1. insignificance - the quality of having little or no significance
unimportance - the quality of not being important or worthy of note compared with the rate among black families, two thirds of which (64%) were headed by a lone parent. Of particular concern was the rate of teenage parenting, especially as a route into welfare. Although mothers aged less than 20 made up only 8% of the welfare rolls in 1992, 52% of welfare mothers had had their first children in their teens. These facts figured highly in the reform debate and had considerable influence both on the broad focus and on some of the detailed provisions of the reforms.
Against this background, and following much prior political skirmishing, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA PRWORA Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
PRWORA Personal Responsibility Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act ) was passed in 1996, ushering in Noun 1. ushering in - the introduction of something new; "it signalled the ushering in of a new era"
first appearance, introduction, debut, entry, launching, unveiling - the act of beginning something new; "they looked forward to the debut of their new product line" a significant and far-reaching reform of the U.S. welfare system. Under the new Act, the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was the name of a federal assistance program in effect from 1935 to 1997, which was administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. (AFDC AFDC
Aid to Families with Dependent Children
AFDC n abbr (US) (= Aid to Families with Dependent Children) → ayuda a familias con hijos menores
AFDC n abbr ) programme, which was largely received by lone parents, was replaced by the new Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, often pronounced "TAN-if") is the July 1, 1997, successor to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, providing cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of (TANF TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (previously known as AFDC) ) programme. Prior to the legislative change, there had been a ground-swell of change building up in particular states, which were mandated to proceed with their own reforms on the basis of waivers from federal requirements. Wisconsin, California and many other states had implemented a number of changes which prepared the way for the changes introduced in the PRWORA.
The new regime differs in a number of important respects from the former one. Three significant features of the new regime are time-limiting of assistance, increased emphasis on work requirements, and the use of federal block grants.
One of the most significant changes is signalled by the word "temporary" in the title of the new TANF programme. Under the former AFDC programme, lone parents satisfying the means test means test
An investigation into the financial well-being of a person to determine the person's eligibility for financial assistance.
Noun were eligible for assistance until the youngest child turned 18. Under the new programme, lone parents are eligible for assistance for a cumulative total of 60 months during their lifetime. States can exempt up to 20% of their caseloads from this time limit. They also have the discretion to introduce even tighter time limits and many are doing so. For example, Utah has a 36 month lifetime limit on assistance, with extensions are available on a case-by-case basis up to the federal limit of 60 months. Connecticut has a 21-month limit on "employable" recipients with no limit for other people classified as "unemployable un·em·ploy·a·ble
Not able to find or hold a job: unemployable people.
There is also a further and tighter time limit on assistance during any single spell on welfare. Within two years of receiving assistance, lone parents are required to work for at least twenty hours per week. Some states have introduced tighter time limits before requiring people to work: in North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. , for example, welfare recipients are required to get a job, either paid or unpaid, or be in short-term job training within twelve weeks.
Food stamps food stamp
A stamp or coupon, issued by the government to persons with low incomes, that can be redeemed for food at stores.
Noun 1. are also provided on a time-limited basis. Able-bodied persons aged between 18 and 50 without dependent children are able to receive food stamps for only three months in every 36 unless they are working or participating in an employment or training programme. Those who have participated in such a programme and lost their placement may qualify for food stamps for a further three months out of the same 36-month period.
As noted above, lone parents are required to work for at least 20 hours per week within two years of receiving assistance. The work requirement is to be increased to 30 hours per week by fiscal year 2000. Two parent families are required to work at least 35 hours per week between them. States are required to make reductions in the assistance for any period in which an adult member of a family refuses to engage in work under the TANF plan. There are some exemptions: lone parents with children aged under 6 who can not find child care will not be penalised for failure to meet work requirements. And states can exempt lone parents with children under one year of age from the work requirement.
States are required to meet federal targets for the employment rate of welfare families. In fiscal year 1997, states were required to achieve a 25% employment rate among all welfare families. This target will rise to 50% by fiscal year 2002. For two-parent families, the 1997 employment rate target was 75% and this is scheduled to rise to 90% by fiscal year 2002. States will be penalised for not meeting these targets. The penalties are not negligible: a state would lose 5% of its block grant for failing to meet the employment rate in the first year and this would increase by 2 percentage points for each consecutive year of failure.
There had been employment targets under the previous regime: for example in fiscal year 1994, 15% of the non-exempt caseload case·load
The number of cases handled in a given period, as by an attorney or by a clinic or social services agency.
Noun were required to participate in activities under the former JOBS programme (an employment and training programme for AFDC recipients). And 40% of two-parent families were required to participate in work activities for at least 16 hours per week. However, the new requirements are stricter in a number of ways: the required activities are more tightly defined; there is a stronger emphasis on work rather than training (not more than 20% of participants are to be in vocational training); the number of hours of participation is increased; the targets for states are higher; there are fewer exemptions; there are stricter sanctions for non-compliance; and there are stronger incentives for states to meet their targets.
Following the passing of the PRWORA, the Balanced Budget Balanced budget
A budget in which the income equals expenditure. See: budget.
A budget in which the expenditures incurred during a given period are matched by revenues. Act 1997 provided for grants to be made to states and local communities to create additional job opportunities for TANF families who are assessed as hardest to employ. Funds are available for a variety of purposes: job creation through public or private sector wage subsidies; on-the-job training; contracts with public or private providers of job readiness, job placement and postemployment services; job vouchers for similar services; community service or work
These issues are clearly inter-related since the high costs are mainly due to marketing efforts to attract new members. Another problem has been declining levels of active contributors. Although the scheme covers 95% of the labour force, many of these workers are not currently contributing to their accounts. Quessier estimated that only 57% were currently contributing in 1995. A further criticism of the way the scheme was initially configured was the tight restrictions on investment of the funds (although this is now being liberalised).
Perhaps one of the most important criticisms of the new system has been the way it has privatised the risk of low income in old age. When they retire, workers use their funds to purchase a pension in the annuities market. The level of their pension is set according to the prevailing conditions in those markets. Clearly, this will lead to variability in pensions both across time, as the markets blow hot and cold, and between individuals purchasing within the market at the same time, according to the particular deal they are able to secure. As annuity rights are non-tradable, the purchase decision is irreversible irreversible (ir´ēvur´sebl),
adj incapable of being reversed or returned to the original state. . The outcome will be a range of living standards living standards npl → nivel msg de vida
living standards living npl → niveau m de vie
living standards living npl among the retired population. The risk of financial hardship in old age, which is socialised Adj. 1. socialised - under group or government control; "socialized ownership"; "socialized medicine"
liberal - tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition in public schemes, has effectively been privatised, with the risk carried by individuals rather than by the state or by collective funds.
Latin American Variants on the Chilean Model
A decade or so on, other Latin American countries List of American countries
decentralized funds which would compete for the contributions of workers. First out of the blocks was Peru, with a 1993 reform that followed the Chilean precedent more closely than other Latin American countries have done. Even so, the reform involved only a partial privatisation Noun 1. privatisation - changing something from state to private ownership or control
denationalisation, denationalization, privatization
social control - control exerted (actively or passively) by group action , since the existing public pension system was retained alongside the new private system. Members of the public scheme were given the option of moving to the new private system. Movement between the schemes was possible originally, but is no longer allowed. A one-off gross salary increase of 13.5% was given to those Peruvian workers who chose to transfer to the new scheme. However, at the same time a disincentive dis·in·cen·tive
Something that prevents or discourages action; a deterrent.
something that discourages someone from behaving or acting in a particular way
Noun 1. to move to the new scheme was instituted, since contributions in the old scheme are 9%, compared to 15% in the AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. . Furthermore, in the public scheme 6% of the contribution is funded by employers, while in the AFP the whole 15% is funded by the worker (Quessier). As might be expected, the migration of workers has been slower than in Chile: by 1996 the new scheme had about as many members as the public scheme.
The Peruvian reform has some way to go before achieving the high rate of coverage that has been achieved in Chile: in 1996 only 40% of the labour force was covered by either the new private or the old public system. Nevertheless, this represents an advance on the old system, under which coverage had been as low as 20%.
Colombia also retained its existing public scheme alongside the new private scheme in its 1994 reform and has continued to allow individuals to switch between the schemes as often as every three years. This raises a risk of instability, if there is a high rate of migration as a result of short-term fluctuations in performance, which will be likely to keep administrative costs administrative costs,
n.pl the overhead expenses incurred in the operation of a dental benefits program, excluding costs of dental services provided. high. In 1994 Argentina also reformed its system, opting for a slightly different approach to the public/private mix, based on a two-tier system The two-tier system, in the context of labor relations, is a type of contract employed by companies to scale back negotiated wages and benefits.
When a two-tier system is in place in a new contract, workers hired before ratification of that contract have a wage progression : a mandatory pay-as-you-go public tier which provides a basis, complemented by mandatory enrolment in either a private defined-contribution scheme or a public defined-benefit scheme (Quessier). Once a member opts for the private scheme, it is not possible to transfer back to the public scheme.
More recently, Bolivia, Uruguay and Mexico have embarked on pension reforms, while Venezuela, Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. , El Salvador El Salvador (ĕl sälväthōr`), officially Republic of El Salvador, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,705,000), 8,260 sq mi (21,393 sq km), Central America. and Panama are also beginning moves in this direction.
One important issue in the reformed Latin American pension schemes is the degree to which they incorporate a safety net in the form of a minimum income level for those with a low level of contributions. In this respect, the track record of the new schemes is decidedly mixed. The Chilean system incorporates a safety net, in the form of a guaranteed minimum income Guaranteed minimum income is a proposed system of income redistribution that would provide eligible citizens with a certain sum of money (independent of whether they work or not), also known as "Basic Income Guarantee (BIG)", "universal basic income", "citizen's income scheme", at about 25% of the average wage. This is available, however, only to those who have a 20 year contribution history. People without this history and without means are obliged to apply for social assistance at a lower level of payment. The Peruvian system
lacks any form of minimum income guarantee, which marks it out from other Latin American countries. Those with insufficient means in Peru are obliged to fall back on social assistance.
Clearly, the reforms have been effective in creating better pension rights for some people in these countries and have provided a significant stimulus to capital formation, but for countries which already have well-established public pension systems and well-developed capital markets, the question must be asked whether the Latin American model provides significant advantages. There is a mix of views on this matter. The World Bank is of the opinion that the reforms are a useful model (World Bank 1994, James 1996) while other commentators are of another mind (Beattie and McGillivray 1995, Singh 1996).
COMMON THEMES IN WELFARE REFORM
Despite the wide diversity in the focus and the content of reform in these four examples, some common themes can nevertheless be discerned. Six main themes have emerged in the reforms enacted to date: an increased emphasis on work obligations; a concern with cost-containment; creation of incentives for cost-containment and efficiency in administration; emphasis on privatisation and market solutions; partnership-building initiatives; and a concern with presentational aspects of the reforms. The following discussion provides some brief comments on each of these main themes, illustrated by examples drawn from the reforms undertaken in the four selected nations.
Increased Emphasis on Work Requirements
With the obvious exception of the Latin American pension reforms, one of the clearest trends is for strengthened work requirements for people receiving welfare payments. A prime emphasis in the Dutch reforms has been the effort to increase labour force participation, especially among people on sickness and disability benefits. The U.S. and U.K. reforms have also placed strong emphasis on getting unemployed people Noun 1. unemployed people - people who are involuntarily out of work (considered as a group); "the long-term unemployed need assistance"
plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one and lone parents, respectively back to work. Many other countries have shared this goal, including New Zealand, where recent initiatives have focused on all three groups: through the proposed work capacity assessment procedure for people who in the past would have qualified for Sickness and Invalids Benefits; through the community wage for unemployed people; and through the new work-test requirement for lone parents with children over 5.
The content of the reforms aimed at the goal of increasing work participation has involved a number of dimensions, including both "carrot carrot, common name for some members of the Umbelliferae, a family (also called the parsley family) of chiefly biennial or perennial herbs of north temperate regions. " and "stick" approaches. Among the "carrot"-like measures are enhanced returns to work, often through the use of income tax credits, increased assistance to lone parents with child care costs and facilitative assistance with job search. The "stick"-like measures include the introduction of statutory requirements for people to search for work and take up employment opportunities, and the use of sanctions for non-compliance with these new requirements.
A second clear trend in the reforms is a concern with containment of costs. This has been a clear motivation in all of the reform efforts, following earlier experience of spiralling caseloads of welfare-dependent clients with concomitant concomitant /con·com·i·tant/ (kon-kom´i-tant) accompanying; accessory; joined with another.
concomitant adjective Accompanying, accessory, joined with another spiralling escalation es·ca·late
v. es·ca·lat·ed, es·ca·lat·ing, es·ca·lates
To increase, enlarge, or intensify: escalated the hostilities in the Persian Gulf.
v.intr. of costs. The efforts to contain costs have taken a variety of forms, including reduction of replacement rates, tighter targeting and conditionality, and time-limiting of benefits.
Many countries have reduced replacement rates for social security benefits. In particular, earnings-related benefits have been subject to strong downward pressure. The Netherlands has reduced its benefit levels from 80% to 70% of last earned wages, but other countries have gone further than this. In the U.K., earnings-related supplements to the Unemployment Benefit were phased out in the early 1980s.
Reductions have also been made to flat-rate benefits. Rather than taking the direct route of cutting rates as in the 1991 benefit cuts in New Zealand, other countries have tended to prefer the more concealed route of freezing rates so that their real value atrophies over time at the rate of price inflation. The U.S. reforms have given flexibility to states in setting benefit rates and some have introduced graduated reductions over time, with benefit rates ratcheting down as the months of a recipient's entitlement tick away.
Tighter conditionality has also been used widely as a means of controlling flows onto the welfare rolls. The Dutch reforms now involve a much more vigilant gate-keeping process before admitting people to full Disability Benefit. A similar approach will be taken in New Zealand with the new work capacity assessment procedures for sick and disabled people. The U.S. has imposed also conditions on payments to a range of groups. Lone parents are required to co-operate in establishing paternity The state or condition of a father; the relationship of a father.
English and U.S. Common Law have recognized the importance of establishing the paternity of children. of the child. Those who fail to co-operate are liable to have their cash grant cut by at least 25%. They are also required to fulfil certain standards of parenting in order to collect their full benefits: for example they must show proof that their children have been immunised in order to qualify for aid and the children must attend school regularly. Unmarried parents who are minors are required to live with a responsible adult or in an adult-supervised setting and participate in education or training activities. Assistance is declined if these conditions are not fulfilled.
Other elements of the U.S. reforms have been similarly concerned with the moral behaviour of welfare recipients, especially reproductive behaviour reproductive behaviour
In animals, any activity directed toward perpetuation of a species. Sexual reproduction, the most common mode, occurs when a female's egg is fertilized by a male's sperm. and drug use. Bonuses are payable to states which achieve decreases in out-of-wedlock births, while states are also mandated to implement a "family cap", under which no additional assistance would be provided in respect of additional children born to welfare parents. Anyone convicted of a drug-related felony felony (fĕl`ənē), any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. is prohibited for life from receiving assistance under the TANF programme and is also permanently prohibited from receiving food stamps. States may waive To intentionally or voluntarily relinquish a known right or engage in conduct warranting an inference that a right has been surrendered.
For example, an individual is said to waive the right to bring a tort action when he or she renounces the remedy provided by law for such this provision or limit the length of the sanction. As Duerr Berrick (1997) notes, targeting drug-related behaviour in this way seems somewhat anomalous, since "women who commit homicide homicide (hŏm`əsīd), in law, the taking of human life. Homicides that are neither justifiable nor excusable are considered crimes. A criminal homicide committed with malice is known as murder, otherwise it is called manslaughter. , felonious Done with an intent to commit a serious crime or a felony; done with an evil heart or purpose; malicious; wicked; villainous.
An aggravated assault, such as an assault with an intent to murder, is a felonious assault. child abuse, or other equally egregious e·gre·gious
Conspicuously bad or offensive. See Synonyms at flagrant.
[From Latin offenses may continue to receive aid".
Time-limited benefits are a well-established feature of social insurance programmes, but have seldom been used in the social assistance tier, which has generally been regarded as aid of last resort. The U.S. welfare reform has thus broken new ground by restricting the duration of receipt of payments under the TANF programme. Recipients have a lifetime limit on eligibility to assistance of five years and can only receive assistance for two years before being required to find work.
This raises the issue of what happens to people who have exhausted their entitlements to assistance under this programme. They will remain entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: to food stamps; however, even this entitlement is no longer open-ended. The other option that remains is for states to waive the time limit for up to 20% of their caseload, although they will have to absorb the costs of this. On the other hand, states are also mandated to implement tighter time limits and other restrictions on assistance if they wish to do so. Many are doing so in practice. To date, no other countries have followed the U.S. in time-limiting the social assistance tier.
Incentives for Cost Containment cost containment,
n the features of a dental benefits program or of the administration of the program designed to reduce or eliminate certain charges to the plan.
The Dutch reforms have emphasised the role of incentives in their reforms. As employers are obliged to cover the first year of an employee's sick leave, they have a strong incentive to monitor and police absenteeism ab·sen·tee·ism
1. Habitual failure to appear, especially for work or other regular duty.
2. The rate of occurrence of habitual absence from work or duty. . The availability of differential premiums on the basis of their disability records also provides a strong incentive for employers not to use this provision for off-loading less productive workers to achieve down-sizing or restructuring goals.
The U.S. reforms have provided states with strong financial incentives to manage their welfare costs, through the instrument of block grant funding. This means that states are being forced to exert tighter management of federal funds Federal Funds
Funds deposited to regional Federal Reserve Banks by commercial banks, including funds in excess of reserve requirements.
These non-interest bearing deposits are lent out at the Fed funds rate to other banks unable to meet overnight reserve and have an incentive to control costs within the overall level of the block grants. The level of the block grants has also been frozen for a fixed period, so that states are also being forced to be mindful mind·ful
Attentive; heedful: always mindful of family responsibilities. See Synonyms at careful.
mind of the implications of their administrative and policy settings for future growth of programmes.
To allow the states freedom to manage their resources within the constraints of the block grants, they are mandated to implement tighter restrictions on the availability of assistance. Some are doing so. On the other hand, they are also mandated to provide additional assistance to people in need and are able to waive the time limit for 20% of their caseload, provided that any excess expenditure is met from their own budget. No additional funds will be provided to allow them to do this. This means that states have considerable freedom to decide how to implement their new responsibilities but that they also have strong financial incentives to maintain tight control over expenditure and expenditure growth.
In addition to the incentives implicit in Adj. 1. implicit in - in the nature of something though not readily apparent; "shortcomings inherent in our approach"; "an underlying meaning"
underlying, inherent the block funding arrangement, the federal government has also established a series of bonuses and sanctions aimed at encouraging states to achieve specified targets in a range of performance areas, including the rate of employment of welfare parents and rate of pregnancy among unmarried teenager.
Privatisation and Reliance on Market Solutions
The Chilean reforms are a clear example of privatisation, as the management of pension funds is now all conducted by private insurance agencies. Through the process by which people are obliged to purchase pensions in the annuities when they retire, this also involves a privatisation of the risk of financial hardship in old age, which is collectively borne in public systems. The Dutch reforms have also involved significant privatisation of coverage of substantial parts of the social security system. Employers are required to cover the whole first year of sick leave of their employees, which has resulted in wholesale purchase of coverage of this risk in private re-insurance markets. In addition, the Dutch disability benefit provisions are now also administered by privatised agencies. Further moves towards a managed market for coverage of the disability benefit are also planned.
The U.K. New Deal programmes are premised on a partnership with employer groups employer group Association of employers Managed care An entity with a current group benefits agreement in effect with a health plan to provide covered health care services to its employee-subscribers and eligible dependents. under which the government provides subsidies to employers of people coming within the ambit of the programmes. In return, employers are expected to provide on-the-job training to programme participants. Competitive bids are also currently being sought from organisations to operate innovative programmes aimed at assisting people with disabilities or long-term illnesses into work. In a similar way, the U.S. has made funds available for a range of welfare-to-work grants which are to be used for such purposes as job creation through public or private sector wage subsidies, on-the-job training, work experience placements and so on. A fixed proportion of these funds are to be used in conjunction with Private Industry Councils and part of the funds will also be available for competitive bids from local government or private sector organisations to operate such programmes.
In the Netherlands, municipalities are being given more responsibility and discretion to develop local policies on supplements to the assistance programme. They are also required to develop individual plans for insertion of beneficiaries into the labour market, which requires them to work collaboratively with local labour offices.
These ideas have echoes in New Zealand. The From Welfare to Well-being initiative, which seeks to forge a partnership with business and community leaders at a local level, does not offer wage subsidies to employers. Instead it relies on a mix of suasion and exhortation to encourage local community and business leaders to develop local responses to welfare dependency in their own communities. The New Zealand Community Wage programme will also require a partnerships to be developed between government, businesses and voluntary organisations, modelled on the existing Community Taskforce programme.
Presentational Aspects of the Reforms
Another significant element in the reform process has been an emphasis on presentational elements. This has involved both rebranding of programmes to signify sig·ni·fy
v. sig·ni·fied, sig·ni·fy·ing, sig·ni·fies
1. To denote; mean.
2. To make known, as with a sign or word: signify one's intent. changed emphases in reformed programmes and increased attention to marketing the reforms and building a constituency for a renewed vision of welfare.
In a number of countries, programme titles have been rebranded to give additional emphasis to the new requirements that are placed on recipients, especially the increased expectation that recipients will search for Work. Examples of this are the U.K. Jobseeker's Allowance jobseeker's allowance
(in Britain) a social-security payment for unemployed people (replacing both Unemployment Benefit and Income Support for the Unemployed) and the New Zealand Community Wage (replacing both Unemployment Benefit and Sickness Benefit Noun 1. sickness benefit - money paid (by the government) to someone who is too ill to work
Britain, Great Britain, U.K., UK, United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - a monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most ). The term "benefit" thus appears to be losing its place as part of the social security lexicon. This is a reflection of a number of developments: increased emphasis on active assistance approaches (rather than passive receipt of a benefit), increased emphasis on reciprocal responsibilities (especially work) and de-emphasis of the notion of an "entitlement" to a benefit (especially in the U.S. where claimants no longer have an automatic entitlement to TANF assistance under the new legislation).
A further example of rebranding comes from the U.S., where the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children programme has been replaced by the new Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programme. The word "temporary" is a significant element of the change, signalling the time-limited nature of the new provision. The term "dependent" has also disappeared and has been replaced by "needy" in another significant semantic shift, which signals both an intention to target resources to those who need them and an attempt to move away from the notion of "dependency".
The U.K. reforms have adopted the phrase "New Deal", which signals the significance of the reform by allusion al·lu·sion
1. The act of alluding; indirect reference: Without naming names, the candidate criticized the national leaders by allusion.
2. to the U.S. response to the Great Depression, but locates it in the U.K. context with its consonance con·so·nance
1. Agreement; harmony; accord.
a. Close correspondence of sounds.
b. The repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the ends of words, as in blank with the New Labour imagery: "New Labour: New Deal".
This indicates that the symbolic value of programme titles is increasingly being recognised and is being harnessed in the aim of achieving fundamental shifts in public attitudes to welfare. These developments are not essentially new, since programme titles have evolved continually over the years and some of the early programme titles now sound distinctly quaint quaint
adj. quaint·er, quaint·est
1. Charmingly odd, especially in an old-fashioned way: "Sarah Orne Jewett . . . to modern ears. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the pace of change in the terminology has accelerated recently (although the Australian Unemployment Benefit was replaced by Newstart Allowance and Jobsearch Allowance as long ago as 1991). More recent changes have signalled a new shift where the notions of "benefit" and "entitlement" are being de-emphasised and the notion of reciprocal obligation is being brought into the foreground foreground - (Unix) On a time-sharing system, a task executing in foreground is one able to accept input from and return output to the user in contrast to one running in the background. .
Many of the reform programmes have also been accompanied by public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most campaigns to market the reforms and build constituencies for a renewed vision of welfare. This has been a particular focus of the U.K. reforms, as the new Labour Government actively campaigned on the need for the reforms and has supported its case through the issue of a Green Paper setting out both the case for reform and the proposed approach. The U.S. reforms have also been carried out against a background of considerable debate over a period of some years. The case for reform has been endorsed by both main political parties and was underlined by President Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it".
DISCUSSION: PARALLELS WITH NEW ZEALAND
The changes that have been implemented in the selected countries examined in this paper all have echoes in New Zealand. In some cases, the changes have direct parallels in New Zealand reforms, while in other cases New Zealand has taken a variant approach. Many of the reforms discussed in this paper are at the forefront of welfare reform efforts and the extent to which New Zealand is at the leading edge of reform efforts also varies. In one case, the direction of New Zealand policy is counter to the reform examined in the paper.
The U.S. reform has perhaps been the most radical of all those examined in this paper, with its adoption of time-limited benefits and block grant funding arrangements. While New Zealand has not followed these moves, it has adopted stronger work-testing requirements for lone parents on welfare in a similar way to the U.S. reforms. Under the current New Zealand reforms, lone parents whose youngest child is aged over 5 will be required to seek part-time work or training, while those whose youngest child is aged over 13 will be required to seek full-time work. Few other countries have implemented work testing requirements for lone parents, although the Netherlands and some Canadian states have done so. In the U.K. participation in the New Deal for Sole Parents is presently on a voluntary basis.
The U.K. New Deal for the Young Unemployed, with its provision of a community work option, also has an echo in New Zealand, where community work is now one option among a range of activities that can be required of claimants to the new Community Wage programme, which has replaced both Unemployment Benefit and Sickness Benefit. Indeed, this reform goes further than the U.K. reform under which participants are able to choose community work from a range of options, whereas recipients of the Community Wage in New Zealand can be required to take up community work. The numbers who will be required to do so are as yet undetermined, and will depend to some degree on the capacity and willingness of community agencies to provide places.
The Dutch reform of sickness and disability provisions also has a parallel in New Zealand. The current reforms of the ACC See adaptive cruise control. system (which are discussed in two other contributions to this issue), involving the introduction of market competition for coverage of disability deriving from accidents, bear some similarity to the Dutch reforms. Although the context and detail of the reforms differ in the two nations, in both cases the reforms are aimed at enhancing the incentives for employers to manage the risks of accident and disability among their workforce by providing differentiated risk premiums on the basis of their record of disability claims. The increased emphasis on medical re-examination and tighter requirement for partially disabled workers to accept alternative employment in the Netherlands have a parallel in New Zealand's proposed new procedure to test the work capacity of all benefit claimants who in the past might have been eligible for Sickness or Invalids Benefit. Indeed, by introducing a standardised Adj. 1. standardised - brought into conformity with a standard; "standardized education"
standard - conforming to or constituting a standard of measurement or value; or of the usual or regularized or accepted kind; "windows of standard width"; Work Capacity Assessment procedure, the New Zealand reforms may represent a further advance on the Dutch reform effort in this area. However, in privatising sickness insurance by requiring employers to meet sick leave costs for the whole first year, the Dutch have gone further than the New Zealand reforms.
Swimming Against the Tide: New Zealand Pension Reforms
The one instance where the New Zealand changes have been quite at variance with the reforms examined in this paper has been in pensions policy. Yet even here, the reforms implemented in Latin America have had a curious echo in New Zealand in the form of the referendum on a compulsory superannuation Superannuation
An organizational pension program created by companies for the benefit of their employees.
Funds deposited in a superannuation account will typically grow without any tax implications until retirement or withdrawal. scheme which was held last year (Preston 1997). The proposed New Zealand scheme had a number of similarities with the Latin American model: it was to be funded entirely from worker's contributions; the contributions were to be paid into privately managed funds; contributors were to be free to choose the fund to which they contributed; the funds were to be free to compete for clients; and contributors were to be free to switch between funds, subject to specified notice periods.
However, the proposal incorporated some additional elements aimed at reducing the degree to which retirees would be exposed to the risk of low income in old age. First, at age 65 the accumulated fund was to be used to purchase an annuity which would be fixed at a standard rate. If the balance was below that required to purchase the annuity, a top-up would be provided by the government. If the balance exceeded this requirement, the excess would revert re·vert
1. To return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief.
2. To undergo genetic reversion. to the contributor. Women would be provided with a special top-up in recognition of the higher market price for female annuities by reason of their longer life expectancy.
In the event, however, these guarantees of a basic pension right were insufficient to persuade the public to vote for the scheme and it was decisively rejected by the electorate by a margin of 92% against and 8% for. The New Zealand public thus resoundingly re·sound
v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds
1. To be filled with sound; reverberate: The schoolyard resounded with the laughter of children.
2. restated their preference for a taxpayer-funded pay-as-you-go public pension scheme.
It is perhaps constructive to contrast the New Zealand decision to stick with its public pension with recent pension policy developments in Australia, where a compulsory contributory con·trib·u·to·ry
1. Of, relating to, or involving contribution.
2. Helping to bring about a result.
3. Subject to an impost or levy.
n. pl. private retirement scheme was implemented in 1993, which shared some elements with the Chilean reforms. There were some design differences between the New Zealand proposal and the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC SGC Server Gated Cryptography
SGC StarGate Command
SGC South Georgia College (Douglas, GA, USA)
sGC Soluble Guanylate Cyclase
SGC Superannuation Guarantee Charge (Australian finance) ), as the new Australian New Australian
Austral an Australian name for a recent immigrant, esp. one from Europe scheme is known, which may have explained the different public response to the two proposals in the two countries.
First, the SGC exists as a separate and complementary pillar alongside the public pension which continues to exist on a means- and asset-tested basis as a safety net provision. While the income guarantee in the New Zealand scheme would have performed the same function of ensuring a minimum income in old age for all citizens, it is possible that there was a perception in New Zealand that the new private scheme was about to swallow the existing public scheme, where in Australia there was a clearer appreciation of the distinct roles of the separate pillars. Secondly, the Australian scheme was to be funded initially by employers' contributions, with employees' contributions to be phased in over time. This may also have been a considerable factor in the acceptability of the proposal to the Australian electorate.
Whatever the reason, the New Zealand referendum result has established this country on a different policy trajectory Trajectory
The curve described by a body moving through space, as of a meteor through the atmosphere, a planet around the Sun, a projectile fired from a gun, or a rocket in flight. from its trans-Tasman neighbour for the foreseeable future. It will be of interest to observe how the two programmes fare in managing the challenges posed by ageing populations.
In summary, the New Zealand reforms have both similarities with, and differences from, those undertaken overseas. New Zealand shares the same preoccupation with welfare reform, because it shares the same underlying pressures for reform as other countries, and it has adopted reforms which are broadly similar to those of other countries. But it has also chosen its own distinctive path, and tailored its policies to its own circumstances. In many of these areas -- especially work-testing of lone parents, assessing the work capacity of sick and disabled benefit claimants, and requiring unemployed people to be available for community work -- New Zealand is in the vanguard of reform efforts, although it has not adopted some of the more harder-edged U.S. policies, such as time-limiting of benefits.
Being at the leading edge of reform exposes the country to some risks, since many of these changes remain uncertain as to their effects. Given that most of the reform is aimed at moving people off benefit and into work, a key question will be whether the New Zealand economy can deliver the jobs that are required to allow these transitions to occur. In its present recessionary mood, the economy does not currently appear well equipped to create the opportunities that are required. Indeed, there is a risk that, if the recession continues to deepen deep·en
tr. & intr.v. deep·ened, deep·en·ing, deep·ens
To make or become deep or deeper.
to make or become deeper or more intense
Verb 1. , the reforms will be swamped "Swamped" is the seventeenth episode of The Batman's second season. It originally aired in North America on June 11, 2005. Plot Synopsis
Killer Croc, a half-man, half reptile plans to submerge all of Gotham in water in order to facilitate his plundering of the city. by an influx of new income support claimants who have recently lost their jobs. A reform package which focuses largely on increasing labour supply might not be effective in such an environment. To a large degree, then, welfare reforms of this type are likely to be effective only if accompanied by sound macro-economic policies and favourable external circumstances which return the economy to a growth path and deliver job opportunities to people who will otherwise continue to remain reliant on income support.
(1) I am using the terms "welfare" and "welfare reform" in a very broad sense in this paper. Rather than the narrower meaning the term "welfare" has in some other countries (where it tends to be restricted to the social assistance tier), I am using it here to refer to the whole range of social security programmes. This may seem an idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. usage to overseas readers, although it will seem more natural to New Zealand readers.
Beattie and McGillivray (1995) "A Risky Strategy: Reflections on the World Bank Report Averting a·vert
tr.v. a·vert·ed, a·vert·ing, a·verts
1. To turn away: avert one's eyes.
2. the Old Age Crisis" in International Social Security Review, 49(3).
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Belief in the salvation of all souls. Arising as early as the time of Origen and at various points in Christian history, the concept became an organized movement in North America in the mid-18th century. Versus Targeting and Support Versus Dependency" in 2nd International Research Conference on Social Security: "Summing Up the Evidence: The Impact of Incentives and Targeting in Social Security": Conference Volume, International Social Security Association, Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. .
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De Jong De Jong is the most common Dutch surname. Many people bear this name, including many important historical figures. Some of these people are mentioned below.
De Jong may mean:
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HMSO n abbr (BRIT) (= His (or Her) Majesty's Stationery Office) → distribuidor oficial de las publicaciones del gobierno del Reino Unido , London.
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European Commission European Commission, branch of the governing body of the European Union (EU) invested with executive and some legislative powers. Located in Brussels, Belgium, it was founded in 1967 when the three treaty organizations comprising what was then the European Community (1995) Social Protection in Europe, Author, Brussels.
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tr.v. dis·man·tled, dis·man·tling, dis·man·tles
a. To take apart; disassemble; tear down.
b. the Welfare State? Reagan, Thatcher Thatch·er , Margaret Hilda. Baroness. Born 1925.
British Conservative politician who served as prime minister (1979-1990). Her administration was marked by anti-inflationary measures, a brief war in the Falkland Islands (1982), and the passage of a , and the Politics of Retrenchment, Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .
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1. ^ Israel, Jonathan. The Dutch Republic. ? Job Growth, Welfare Reform and Corporatism corporatism
Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state. According to the theory, employers and employees would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political in the Netherlands, Amsterdam University Press.
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New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of .
Special Adviser Social Policy Agency