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Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany
In recent decades, the problem of unemployment has generated fierce political and academic discussion on how national governments should address this issue. This book sheds light on a key debate in unemployment policy - that of whether unemployment benefits should be insurance-based or means-tested. It carefully compares the impact of the British and German benefit systems on poverty, the duration of unemployment and the spread of workless households during the 1990s. In Germany unemployment is regarded as a risk which individuals insure themselves against through the state, whereas in Britain compensation for the unemployed is allocated primarily through means-tested benefits paid for from tax revenue. These contrasting welfare scenarios make this study of the differences in welfare provision and the effect on the lives of the unemployed especially valuable. The author combines an in-depth study of unemployment policies with extensive statistical analysis, to examine the experience over time of unemployed individuals and the households in which they live. In particular, she focuses on the important interactions between the state, labour markets and household structures.
This book presents a large amount of new empirical material and employs an innovative methodology by applying event history analysis to social policy questions. Academics and policymakers working in the fields of unemployment, comparative welfare analysis and labour market sociology will welcome this rigorous and highly rewarding volume.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'... this is an important contribution to the comparative welfare state literature. It provides an excellent summary of the systems and contexts of welfare in both countries and it will in time come to serve as an important benchmark reminding us how different the welfare systems of Germany and Britain were prior to Hartz IV and the New Deal.' -- Claire Annesley, German Politics 'One can only hope that policy makers will consider McGinnity's work as they ponder future policy changes. Without downplaying the role of individual decisions and cultural norms, McGinnity has more than proven her point that institutions matter. Her book provides a valuable benchmark for future research on changing unemployment policy regimes.' -- Jutta A. Helm, German Studies Review 'Frances McGinnity has provided a major contribution to our understanding of the implications of welfare regimes for the experience of unemployment. Combining fine-grained institutional knowledge with methodologically sophisticated analysis of longitudinal data, she shows how German and British welfare institutions have very different implications for poverty risks, the duration of unemployment and the employment decisions of the partners of the unemployed. Over the next decade, comparative European research is likely to be a growth area. This study provides a model of how such research should be conducted.' -- Duncan Gallie, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK 'The book establishes a landmark in the cross-national study of unemployment outcomes and makes an important contribution to our understanding of country differences in welfare provisions for the unemployed.' -- Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Bamberg University, Germany 'This book by Frances McGinnity adds considerable value to an ongoing debate in labour market economics and sociology. It is well written, well structured and should be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to professional scholars of economics, sociology and industrial relations.' -- Thomas Lange, Learning and Skills Council for Staffordshire, UK