There exists a widespread conviction that pension protection, along with many other social benefits, is slowly being eroded as responsibility for insurance and the associated costs are shifted steadily from government and employers to individual citizens and their family members.
But was there really a ‘golden age’ of pension protection? If so, what are the causes that undermined these guarantees, and what are the policy parameters and defining characteristics that have shaped pension policies during the last couple of decades?
In the United States, ’welfare‘ and the politics of welfare – cash assistance for families, generally female-headed single-parent families with children – have been treated as a separable realm of policy, and too often as synonymous with all of anti-poverty policy.
Contemporary welfare states remain in need of powerful policies aimed at protecting against new social risks, inclusion through work, and more equality in education and the labour market. Clearly, in less stratified societies, such as in Scandinavia, there is less scope for Matthew effects and these social policies are likely to be more effective.
In this report and series of policy briefs, leading political scientists and policymakers examine the role of personal responsibility in creating the conditions necessary to achieve equality of opportunity.
Should personal circumstance and behaviour be a determinant in the allocation of resources or should the welfare state be blind to all but individual need? Is the notion of contract a valid one when applied to welfare relationships, and how far should our conception of responsibility extend into the realms of education and health policy?