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.
Frances McGinnity, Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Comparing Labour Market Trends and the Composition of the Unemployed 3. Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany 4. Income Poverty Among the Unemployed 5. Comparing Durations of Unemployment 6. The Labour Force Participation of the Wives of Unemployed Men 7. Conclusions Appendix References Index