A new book examined the reforms in activation policies in the United States of America and eight European countries (the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal, and the Czech Republic). It said there had been two key trends during the ten years to 2010 (a strengthened role for the market in the governance of activation, and greater individualization of service delivery) and that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe had led to further reforms.
Source: Ivar Lodemel and Amilcar Moreira, Activation or Workfare? Governance and the neo-liberal convergence, Oxford University Press
An article compared employed and unemployed job-seekers in their individual characteristics, preferences over working hours, job-search strategies, and employment histories. Systematic differences were found, which persisted over the business cycle. These results were consistent with a segmented labour market in which employed and unemployed job-seekers were unlikely to directly compete with each other for jobs.
Source: Simonetta Longhi and Mark Taylor, 'Employed and unemployed job seekers and the business cycle', Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Volume 76 Issue 4
The official advisory body on social security began consultation on proposals to amend the income-related benefits regulations and other social security regulations, which would have the effect of increasing the number of 'waiting days' served at the start of a new claim to jobseeker's allowance, and employment and support allowance. Under the proposals, the waiting time would increase from the existing level of three days to seven. The consultation would close on 13 June 2014.
Source: Social Security Advisory Committee
An article examined the extent to which tax-benefit systems in Europe provided an automatic stabilization of income for those who had become unemployed at the onset of the global economic recession. It said there was evidence of differing degrees of relative and absolute resilience in the household incomes of those who were newly unemployed. These arose from variations in the protection offered by the national tax-benefit systems and from the personal and household circumstances of those most at risk of unemployment.
Source: Marina Fernandez Salgado, Francesco Figari, Holly Sutherland, and Alberto Tumino, 'Welfare compensation for unemployment in the great recession', Review of Income and Wealth, Volume 60 Supplement 1
An article examined whether the well-being cost of unemployment was higher in individualistic countries and among people with more individualistic orientations, drawing on the European Values Study for 42 European countries. The results confirmed that in Europe individualism correlated with a higher well-being cost of unemployment. Specifically, the relationship between unemployment and well-being was said to be moderated by the family support norm and its effect size was substantial, similar to the effect of country unemployment rate.
Source: Malgorzata Mikucka, 'Does individualistic culture lower the well-being of the unemployed? Evidence from Europe', Journal of Happiness Studies, Volume 15 Number 3
See also: Malgorzata Mikucka, Unemployment and Well-Being in Europe: The effect of country unemployment rate, work ethics and family ties, Working Paper 2011/014, Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD)
A report provided the baseline findings from a longitudinal study of the emerging consequences of benefit changes on working age social housing tenants in the south west of England. It said that tenants viewed the welfare reforms as a great uncertainty that could disturb their carefully managed, but limited, household budgets. The research had found that reforms led to cuts in income for almost half of the tenants interviewed, and were contributing to the growth of debt and rent arrears. Practical responses to financial pressures, included: reducing expenditure on food, utilities, and other household items; using savings; selling personal items; and asking family members for help. Tenants reported many difficulties in finding work, and the report said there was a general sense that the removal of the spare room subsidy (commonly referred to as the 'bedroom tax') was unfair. The report outlined some initial lessons for housing associations, government, and society. A second round of follow-up interviews was scheduled for April 2014.
Source: Anne Power, Bert Provan, and Eileen Herden, Work and Welfare Reform: Impacts in the South West, CASEreport 81, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (London School of Economics)
An article examined whether employers discriminated against job applicants from deprived areas. 'No statistically significant' difference in employer treatment of applicants from such areas was found.
Source: Rebecca Tunstall, Anne Green, Ruth Lupton, Simon Watmough, and Katie Bates, 'Does poor neighbourhood reputation create a neighbourhood effect on employment? The results of a field experiment in the UK', Urban Studies, Volume 51 Number 4