By Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)
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Extra info for Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need in the United States, Germany, and Sweden
Further public employment growth, though, is no longer a viable strategy, due to the significant financial burden it already places on government budgets. 34 AGENTS OF THE WELFARE STATE By contrast, in Continental countries with strong Christian Democratic parties, expanding public employment was neither fiscally nor politically acceptable, as policymakers were reluctant to expand government involvement in the traditional jurisdiction of family and charitable service providers. Instead, unemployment was managed through retirement and disability programs that facilitated early exits of older workers.
Granting recipients support for “special needs” and helping recipients access more secure, alternative forms of public support are central activities. The utilization of this discretion, however, is significantly constrained by the demands of their work. They contend with a unique level of regulatory complexity stemming from the continued generation of new guidelines for one-time payments; the unusually broad range of needs over which they have jurisdiction, including complicated areas of disability and institutional care; and the distinctly difficult task of identifying alternative, precedential forms of public support in Germany’s larger social security system.
In this work he distinguished among welfare states on the basis of “decommodification,” that is, on the extent to which they freed individuals from a primary identification as a commodity by assisting them to live at a socially acceptable level without having to rely on the selling of their labor. This concept was operationalized as an aggregate score of the availability, generosity, and equality of pension, disability, and unemployment benefits. Countries clustered into three groups based on their decommodification scores, with high scorers being primarily Scandinavian countries (the “Social Democratic” regime), middle scorers, 30 AGENTS OF THE WELFARE STATE continental Europe (the “Conservative” regime), and low scorers, primarily the Anglo-Saxon world (the “Liberal” regime).
Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need in the United States, Germany, and Sweden by Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)