Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany

Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany

Who Benefits?

Frances McGinnity

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.

Preface and acknowledgements

Frances McGinnity

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy

Extract

This book, a comparison of welfare for the unemployed and its effects on individuals, is based on my doctoral thesis, submitted to Oxford University in early 2001. The analyses in it run until the mid-1990s, and to a large extent I have neither updated the empirical analyses nor added developments in the literature since then, as doing one would have required the other, and doing both would have resulted in a different book. In the course of writing it I have benefited from the support of a great many people, and it gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to thank them. In Oxford I would first and foremost like to thank Duncan Gallie, my supervisor, whose encouragement, support and comments have been invaluable. Thanks too to Sheila Jacobs for her good-humoured assistance at many stages, and to Richard Layte, Brendan Halpin and Martin Range for their help with programming. Other people have made a contribution by reading drafts and sharing ideas, including Tony Atkinson, Susanne Choi, Martin Evans, David Firth, Markus Gangl, Gordon Marshall, Helen Russell and Jo Webb. Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Michael Noble gave valuable and careful feedback on the final version of the thesis. I would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for funding my doctoral thesis for three years, and the Data Archive in Essex and the German Institute for Economic Research for permission to use their data.1 Indeed, the support staff of the German Socio-economic Panel (GSOEP) at the...