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


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: August 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521615167

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Novel approach to understanding the roots of differences between welfare states
    • In-depth historiographical research on the development of the Italian and Dutch welfare states
    • Compelling and self-conscious use of the most up-to-date historical institutionalist methodologies in political science
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    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - European Politics and Society Section

    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521615167
    • length: 246 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 16 tables
    • availability: Available
  • 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.

  • Author

    Julia Lynch, University of Pennsylvania
    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


    • Winner of the 2007 Best Book Award - European Politics and Society Section

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