Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
  • Publication
    Ireland most stringent Covid restrictions in EU since January: Way out of lockdown has to keep on prioritising children’s education
    (Trinity College Dublin. COVID-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory, 2021-05-06) ;
    Despite the vaccine rollout, governments across the globe still grapple with containing the Covid infections, keeping hospitalisations down and preventing a surge in fatalities. Since last spring, a group of researchers and volunteers, led by Oxford University, have tracked the multiple government restrictions to citizens, businesses and society at large in almost every part of the world. Last week we have launched the UCD Covid Compared dashboard – in short UCD CoCo – to easily access the underlying data of these Covid policy responses and make the tremendous work of the Oxford team more accessible to everyone through simple colour-coded tables and graphs. Following the third lockdown and opening up of Ireland in April, the obvious question is how strict were Ireland’s rules compared to other EU countries? Out of 42 countries, Ireland had the 3rd most stringent restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Only Italy and the UK had enacted tougher rules since March 2020. Broken down by some key indicators, Ireland had closed workplaces and businesses much longer and tougher than any other European country. Similarly, on public transport restrictions Ireland is within the top 5 and for stay-at-home requirements and school closures within the top 10. Most noticeable is that Ireland’s rules on international travel were very lax throughout 2020 and were only tightened after the Christmas travel debacle.
  • Publication
    Legitimationswandel des bundesdeutschen Sozialstaats
    (Association for Social Progress, 2007) ; ;
    Die Möglichkeiten wohlfahrtsstaatlicher Reform en stehen in einem engen Zusammenhang mit den sie begleitenden öffentlichen Diskursen. Diese Diskurse sind geprägt von Wertbegriffen wie Solidarität oder Wettbewerb, deren Bedeutung und Verhältnis zu einander sich verschieben können und die Gegenstand strategischer Diskursinterventionen sind. Diese Diskursentwicklungen werden hier beschrieben und Erklärungsansätze für Stabilität bzw. Wandel entwickelt. Dies geschieht in konzeptioneller Analogie zur Vetospieler-Theorie von George Tsebelis. „Vetowerte“ können Reformen blockieren, da ohne ihre Erfüllung die Reform nicht akzeptabel ist. Je größer die Anzahl der Vetobegriffe, je größer ihre ideologische Distanz und je höher die innere Kohäsion eines Vetobegriffes, desto mehr tendiert eine Policy zu Stabilität. Wir untersuchen in diesen drei Hinsichten die letzten sieben Jahre des sozialpolitischen Diskurses in Deutschland und finden eine geringe Neigung zum Policy-Wandel. Wohlfahrtsstaatliche Diskursanalysen bedürfen einer stärkeren innerwissenschaftlichen Verständigung über derartige methodisch kontrollierte Vorgehensweisen. --- The feasibility of welfare reform is intimately connected to public discourses in that area. Such discourses exhibit a normative vocabulary with values such as solidarity or competition. The proper meaning of such terms and their relationship to one another are in a state of flux and they are subject to discursive interventions. These discursive changes are described, and preliminary explanations for stability and change are provided. This is done by presenting a conceptual analogy to the veto player theory as advocated by George Tsebelis. Normative "veto terms" have to be conformed to in any policy proposal; otherwise they can hinder reform. The greater the number of veto terms, the greater the ideological distance between them, and the more cohesive the single veto terms, the more likely it is that policy stability will result. With regard to these three propositions, German welfare discourse over the last seven years is analysed. All in all, there is not much policy change to be expected. Discourse studies of the welfare state have much to gain from a more sustained debate among researchers on how to conduct rigorous discourse analysis as attempted here.
  • Publication
    Sozialpolitik: Konzepte, Theorien und Wirkungen
    (Centre for Social Policy Research (CeS), 2008) ; ;
    The working paper is an introduction to social policy research and it reviews central concepts, theories and effects of social policy. The concept of social policy (particularly in its German version 'Sozialpolitik') has always been a multifaceted term without a universal definition. Therefore, we discuss a narrow state-centred concept and broaden the conceptual range in sectoral, functional, and territorial dimensions. Furthermore, we critically review the dominant theories of functionalism, power resource, and institutionalism, assessing their contribution to describe and explain the origin, development, national varieties, and recent alterations of social policy. Finally, the social, economic, and political effects of social policy are discussed. The systematic survey of major contributions shows that despite substantial criticism the positive effects prevail.
  • Publication
    Book Review: Making Markets in the Welfare State: The Politics of Varying Market Reforms by Jane Gingrich, Cambridge University Press
    (Sage Publications, 2012-09-19)
    Social policy scholars are very good in comparing welfare states, but little is known about the markets within these welfare states. Jane Gingrich addresses this vast research gap in her new book by comparing the welfare market creation in three countries (England, Sweden, the Netherlands) and three social services (primary health care, schools, long term care) since the 1980s.  
  • Publication
    Wahlfreiheit und Nutzerrollen im deutschen Bildungssystem
    (WSI Mitteilungen, 2012-03)
    The article examines the choice architecture in the German education system and how parents and pupils act as welfare clients, citizens, co-producers or consumers. A state-of-the-art literature review depicts the loopholes of choice and the user behavior in the public education system. The empirical study Focuses on the user roles in the private education market. Based on administrative and PISA 2009 data, the article shows did parents act increasingly as consumers and co-producers if Their children are enrolled at a private school. Parents are less inclined to participate as citizens in the school board of private schools. More over, the likelihood to attend at a private school is growing with the cultural and economic capital of the parents. This user behavior leads to social segregation in the education market. The article Concludes to factor in the changed user behavior in future policy Reforms.
  • Publication
    Welfare User Roles in a Conservative Welfare State. Are Germans Citizens, Consumers or Co-producers?
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-12-21) ; ;
    Many welfare states have embraced choice and market mechanisms since the 1990s. With respect to welfare users, it has been argued that this led to a change from citizens to consumers. This paper challenges this observation and discusses changes of welfare user roles in the German welfare state. The main argument rests on the assumption that user roles are much more complex and include claimants and co-producers in addition to citizens and consumers. Based on this heuristic model of multiple user roles, empirical evidence for user roles in pension insurance, health care and schools is presented. Indeed, we observe a shift towards consumers in many fields of welfare provision, but German users are still largely addressed as claimants and citizens. Moreover, they are acting as active co-producers, entitled claimants, subversive consumers and needy patients.
      597Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    Geographies of Assets and Debt
    In this paper we focus on the geographies of individual and household debt. Rising household debt has become an issue of increased concern across many nations. We consider two important contributing factors to this rise in debt; first, the global rise in financial services and institutions seeking to expand their market share of consumer credit. Second, the dismantling of public welfare provision and the shift towards individualization and personal asset-building.
  • Publication
    Housing wealth and welfare over the life course
    (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017) ;
    This paper conceptualises housing wealth and welfare across the life course. Drawing from the empirical literature on housing wealth transitions, mainly in the United Kingdom, we develop a framework to capture housing wealth from the cradle to the grave. The gAMUT approach captures four key stages: Accumulation, Managing, Using and Transferring of housing wealth. Beyond housing, other wealth and asset types can be incorporated such as savings, bonds or physical wealth. Based on these four stages welfare benefits and drawback as well as opportunities and risks across the life course are discussed. We show that the benefits of housing wealth are later in life. Yet, homeowners face new social risks throughout the life course, they would otherwise not have to worry about. For instance, utilising housing wealth for care needs is a highly individualised risk. Those who incur little care costs can transfer their entire home to their children, while children with parents who have intensive care needs loose substantial amounts of their inheritance. We conclude that housing wealth accumulation potentially has huge individual welfare benefits if managed well and within fortunate economic environment, but is a poor financing mechanism to cover social risks.
      782Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    Ireland’s paternity leave: sluggish benefit take-up and occupational inequalities
    (Taylor and Francis, 2023)
    Ireland used to be a laggard in implementing modern fatherhood policies compared to its European neighbours. In 2016, it was one of the last EU countries to introduce paid paternity leave and three years later parental leave. These reforms indicate that Ireland is moving away from the US model of fatherhood to a social investment state closer to the Swedish model of shared parenthood. With the introduction of Paternity Benefit the Irish government aimed to achieve a take-up of about 46–61%, which is used as a yardstick to evaluate its success. First, this article assesses paternity leave take-up comprehensively through four different rates based on administrative and aggregate data. Overall, take-up had been increasing initially, but levelled already after four years at the lower government target. This is puzzling as countries with similar reforms reported a constant increase and higher take-up over time. Second, drivers for the low take-up are discussed. Specifically, occupational and class inequalities are key factors as only 55 percent of the male workforce have access to occupational top-ups in addition to the relatively low statutory benefit. Without increasing benefit generosity, take-up will stabilize at the rather modest levels in comparison to other European welfare states.
  • Publication
    Editorial: Leistungsempfänger, Bürger oder Kunden? Nutzer in der Sozialpolitik
    Die Reformen des deutschen Sozialstaats der letzten beiden Jahrzehnte stellen Bürgerinnen und Bürger vor neue Anforderungen: Auf Wohlfahrtsmärkten sollen sie als Konsumenten agieren, Versicherte können zwischen verschiedenen öffentlichen, gemeinnützigen oder privatwirtschaftlichen Leistungserbringern wählen, Beschäftigte sollen eigenverantwortlich ihre soziale Sicherung gestalten, Arbeitsuchende müssen aktiv an ihrer Wiedereingliederung ins Erwerbsleben mitarbeiten.