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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.
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Chapter 7: Conclusions

Frances McGinnity


In this final chapter we seek first of all to summarise our most important findings. We then reflect on these findings in the light of the typologies we discussed in Chapter 1, assessing how much the findings support, qualify or undermine these approaches. Previously, we have discussed these typologies in the light of individual chapters: here we summon all the available evidence from the different chapters. In keeping with the focus on institutions and policies, we then discuss some policy implications of the findings. We also discuss some methodological issues and reflect on some insights we have gained into both comparative and longitudinal research. Finally, we give the reader a sense of how research of this kind might proceed, as we outline some strategies for future research. 7.1 COMPARING UNEMPLOYED MEN AND WOMEN IN BRITAIN AND GERMANY In the context of different state responses to the challenge of unemployment, it was the task of this book to investigate outcomes for individual unemployed men and women in Britain and Germany. What have we found? 7.1.1 Comparing Unemployment and Poverty Our first area of analysis (Chapter 4) was the financial consequences of unemployment. We measured whether the household income of unemployed individuals, adjusted for household composition, was below various proportions of the average income in their country. We thereby measured relative financial deprivation, often considered a guide to whether or not people have the material resources to participate in the normal activities of their society. Overall, we find that the...

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