AIAS Lunch Seminar Minna van Gerven- 9 oktober 2008

Minna van Gerven (AIAS) will give a seminar in our AIAS lunch seminar series, with the title:

“The Broad Tracks of Path Dependent Benefit Reforms, A longitudinal Study of Social Benefit Reforms in Three European Countries, 1980- 2006”

To contribute to the vivid discussion of the welfare state change, this PhD analysis comparatively views the changes in rights and conditions of social security benefit of the unemployment, sickness and disability, and social assistance benefit programmes in the UK, the Netherlands and Finland between 1980 and 2006. The study analyses 1) what happened to the eligibility and entitlements rights and conditions in these European contries and programmes since 1980, 2) whether there are similar trends in benefit reform across countries and programmes, and 3) what the changes tell about the scope and direction of welfare state reform in Europe. The data consist of national legislation and other primary sources. The results indicate that the benefit rules have been under constant revision during the last 26 years.

The changes in the examined countries and programmes suggest four common trends in benefit reform in Europe: 1) increased work-relatedness, 2) increased activation, 3) increased targeting, and 4) reduced benefit generosity. These trends in the benefit reform give reason to suggest convergence of policy goals. Yet, the more in detail one looks, the more divergence one finds. In depth analysis shows that the countries follow specific national development paths in how they adapt to new changes: the UK social policy arrangements have returned to favor the minimum protection, the Dutch programmes still aim at preservation of the insurance protection for waged workers, and in the Finnish reforms, an attempt is being made to avoid radical changes of basic security. Further, the study shows that some countries and programmes have undergone more change than the others.

The most significant individual reforms have been implemented in the UK at country level and in the disability benefit programmes at programme level. One also finds variations in the scope of reform across different types of benefit recipients. It is often the young, long-term unemployed, or people with partial work incapacity who faced most reform. The conclusion is that, over time, the reform of social security benefit rights follows rather closely the traditionally chosen routes. There is, however, more room for manouvre in these path dependent benefit reforms than often suggested in the literature.

Day: Thursday 9 October 2008
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 3rd floor building M, Plantage Muidergracht 12
Enrol: Please send us an email. A sandwich will then be provided.
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