Age in the Welfare State: The Origins of Social Spending on Pensioners, Workers, and Children

Age in the Welfare State: The Origins of Social Spending on Pensioners, Workers, and Children

Paperback Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Paperback)

By (author) Julia Lynch, Series edited by Peter Lange, Series edited by Robert H. Bates, Series edited by Ellen Comisso, Series edited by Peter Hall, Series edited by Joel S. Migdal, Series edited by Helen V. Milner

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 246 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 18mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 30 June 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 052161516X
  • ISBN 13: 9780521615167
  • Sales rank: 1,296,388

Product description

This book asks why some countries devote the lion's share of their social policy resources to the elderly, while others have a more balanced repertoire of social spending. Far from being the outcome of demands for welfare spending by powerful age-based groups in society, the 'age' of welfare is an unintended consequence of the way that social programs are set up. The way that politicians use welfare state spending to compete for votes, along either programmatic or particularistic lines, locks these early institutional choices into place. So while society is changing - aging, divorcing, moving in and out of the labor force over the life course in new ways - social policies do not evolve to catch up. The result, in occupational welfare states like Italy, the United States, and Japan, is social spending that favors the elderly and leaves working-aged adults and children largely to fend for themselves.

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Author information

Julia Lynch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent dissertation, on which this book is based, garnered the Gabriel Almond prize of the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in comparative politics. Professor Lynch was previously a scholar in the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholars program at Harvard University, and she has been a visiting researcher at the European University Institute in Florence and the Luxembourg Income Study project in Luxembourg

Review quote

'Julia Lynch has made an unusually creative and insightful contribution to comparative social policy theory. The great virtue of Age in the Welfare State is that it succeeds in answering all three of its major research questions in a robust, systematic, and thought-provoking way.' Pieter Vanhuysse, University of Haifa 'Lynch proposes an innovative historical-institutional explanation ... Lynch's fact-finding strategy in these chapters is certainly helpful in establishing precise values for the ENSR and in raising additional theoretical puzzles. ... the author supplements this early analysis with three rigourous chapter-length studies of family allowances, unemployment benefits and pensions in two countries ... Julia Lynch has made an unusually creative and insightful contribution to comparative social policy theory. ... this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the interplay of liberal democracy and public policy.' Journal of Social Policy

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Measuring the age of welfare; 3. Age and the welfare state: theories and hypotheses; 4. Family allowances: wages, taxes, and the appeal to the self-employed; 5. Benefits for the unemployed: young and old in the fortress labor market; 6. Old-age pensions: the architecture of spending; 7. Conclusion.