Table of Contents

Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State

Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State

Edited by Henriette Sinding Aasen, Siri Gloppen, Anne-Mette Magnussen and Even Nilssen

The concept of juridification refers to a diverse set of processes involving shifts towards more detailed legal regulation, regulations of new areas, and conflicts and problems increasingly being framed in legal and rights-oriented terms. This timely book questions the impact international and national regulations have upon vulnerable groups (the unemployed, patients, prisoners, immigrants, and others) in terms of inclusion, exclusion and social citizenship. Focusing on European welfare states, as well as lessons from Latin America, it considers the implementation of the right to health and the role of international courts. This book brings empirical analysis and multidisciplinary, comparative perspectives to the previously fragmented and largely theoretical debate on juridification in the welfare state.

Chapter 4: Unemployment compensation and the trade-off between equality and personal responsibility

Cornelius Cappelen and Eskil Le Bruyn Goldeng

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, law and society, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, welfare states

Extract

Social citizenship includes the right of individuals to be economically compensated in times when, because of unfortunate circumstances such as involuntary unemployment, they do not have access to labor income. This right is covered by several human rights instruments, but social citizenship also includes obligations, such as the responsibility of benefit recipients to re-enter the labor market if possible. There is, however, a tension between social rights, on the one hand, and social obligations, on the other. Too much focus on rights rather than on obligations can easily result in a situation where many claimants who are not work-oriented (do not have a genuine benefit claim) receive benefits; conversely, excessive focus on obligations and responsibility easily creates a situation where many claimants who are work-oriented (have a genuine benefit claim) do not receive benefits or else receive less than fair benefits. Unemployment insurance compensation (UI) is a welfare scheme in which the tension between rights and obligations represents a severe challenge. On the one hand, we want to provide involuntarily unemployed individuals with what we believe are fair benefits, but, on the other hand, we want recipients to exert effort toward finding and accepting paid labor. How UI schemes in different countries make this trade-off between equality and responsibility is an underexplored topic that is addressed in this chapter.

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