Targeting Social Benefits: International Perspectives and Trends (International Social Security) (Paperback)
Over the last decade changing family life and increasing fiscal constraints on welfare expenditures have forced industrialized nations to reconsider how they approach social protection. Faced with fiscal and demographic changes, many countries have been struggling to -develop innovative policy responses. Some involve targeting benefits in order to shrink existing program commitments, to focus welfare expenditures on those most in need, and to give social welfare systems more flexibility in redirecting available resources to meet emerging demands. Targeting Social Benefits: International Perspectives and Trends provides a systematic assessment of the trend toward targeting in seven countries representing a range of industrialized welfare states-New Zealand, the Netherlands, Britain, Israel, the United States, Italy, and Sweden. The contributors to this volume examine the extent to which each country has adopted measures to focus social benefits on specific population groups and particularly social welfare program areas. A summary chapter surveys and categorizes the choices nations have made in targeting methods, culls the lessons learned for recent reforms, and explores the implications of these developments for the future of the welfare state. Specific methods for targeting benefits in different program areas are analyzed, which includes means-tests, income testing, diagnostic criteria, behavioral requirements and the use of socio-demo-graphic categories. This illuminating volume provides an in-depth understanding of alternative approaches to and consequences of policies designed to target social benefits. It will help scholars, professionals, and policymakers deepen their understanding of the alternative methods and consequences of recent policies designed to shift the allocation of social welfare benefits. Neil Gilbert is Chernin Professor of Social Welfare at the School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Comparative Family Welfare and Poverty Research. Dr. Gilbert served as a Senior Research Fellow for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva and was twice awarded Fulbright Fellowships to study European social policy. His numerous publications include 22 books and 100 articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Society, Commentary, and other leading academic journals.