Social Security and Welfare: Concepts and Comparisons

Social Security and Welfare: Concepts and Comparisons

Social Security and Welfare: Concepts and Comparisons

Social Security and Welfare: Concepts and Comparisons


  • What are the objectives of social security and social assistance provisions?
  • How can we establish whether these provisions are effective?
  • How do countries differ in the design and effectiveness of their social security systems?
This introductory textbook provides a foundation for the systematic study of social security and means-tested social assistance.

The book is structured around a model of policy evaluation, which focuses attention on the multiple objectives and outcomes of social security and provides the basis for a multi-disciplinary approach. It progresses from an examination of the varied objectives of social security, via a consideration of key implementation issues, to the establishment of measures of effectiveness and efficiency.

Throughout the text theoretical issues are illustrated with reference to the experiences of six countries: the United Kingdom, the USA, Australia, Germany, Sweden and South Korea, to provide an international comparative framework.

This is a key textbook for students of social and public policy and economics and essential reading for anyone interested in social security, social welfare and the welfare state.


Welcome to the sixth volume in the Introducing Social Policy series. the series itself is designed to provide a range of well informed texts on a wide variety of topics that fall within the ambit of social policy studies.

Although primarily designed with undergraduate social policy students in mind, it is hoped that the series – and individual titles within it – will have a wider appeal to students in other social science disciplines and to those engaged on professional and post-qualifying courses in health care and social welfare.

The aim throughout the planning of the series has been to produce a series of texts that both reflect and contribute to contemporary thinking and scholarship, and which present their discussion in a readable and easily accessible format.

It is extremely appropriate that such a series should include a volume concerned with social security. Income maintenance services generate issues not only of policy and management, but also of principle and quality of life. They are redolent with historical imagery – as the continuing pervasive influence of the Poor Law of earlier centuries attests. They raise questions in the present about justice, comprehensiveness, sufficiency and targeting; as well, of course, as the relationship between work and welfare. And, for the future, there is especially the impact of an ageing population and the risk of financial insecurity in old age, as well as the impact of globalisation on national social security systems.

These sorts of issues are all too often discussed in a national policy myopia, characterised by legal detail relating to conditions and entitlements. Not so this text by Robert Walker. He has chosen deliberately to discuss the working and effectiveness of the British system in a genuinely comparative context. Central to his approach is what he terms, in his opening chapter, 'the liberation of difference', and the exploration of divergent . . .

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