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Flashcards in citizenship, social rights and universalism Deck (10)
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-everyone has access to same standard of provision
-provided through a set of institiutions that act in an impartial way regardless of individual circumstances
-because all citizens have the same social rights and fundamental needs,



-welfare should be provided only to those who are thought to need it, through means or income tests.

Two types:
Negative: targeting services on the basis of individual means
Positive: providing additional services and resources for disadvantaged groups.


aims of social policy

To reduce poverty and inequality, create a more inclusive society through social rights linked to citizenship.
To strengthen social solidarity.
To pool risks – increase economic security in an efficient and socially just way.
To extend decommodification and the reduction of dependence on the labour market.

Can any or all of these aims be best achieved by providing welfare on the basis of a principle of universalism ?


universal programmes

Social security
health care
secondary education


The needs of other subordinated

marginalised or excluded


marginalisation (non normal)

the needs of some are seen as less central, less important than the needs of others
example – segregation of disabled people


subordination (non normal)

the needs of some are defined in terms of and dependent on the needs of others
example – women’s entitlement to benefits was primarily dependent on their husband’s entitlement.


Exclusion (non normal)

the needs of some are ignored
example – ‘residence rules’ which made it impossible for most black migrants to qualify for entitlement to local authority housing


Fiona Williams: the postwar welfare settlement and ‘normality’

The postwar welfare settlement was built around certain assumptions about ‘normal’ social relationships
‘needs’ in the postwar welfare settlement were defined in relation to an idea of the ‘normal’ citizen – the white, male, able-bodied breadwinner
the needs of others were defined in relation to this idea of the normal.


Austerity has been associated with a move towards greater selectivism in social policy across the globe.
BUT Targeting to the poor should not be viewed as a panacea, since there are major problems associated with means-testing.

It is costly; means testing absorbs an average of 15% of total program costs.
It is administratively complex and requires significant civil service capacity, which is often lacking in lower income countries.
It can lead to large under-coverage; the scope of the target often falls short of adequately covering vulnerable populations and, instead, tends to focus only on the extreme poor, leaving many vulnerable persons excluded by design from receiving benefits when their need for public assistance is high.
It generates incentive distortions and moral hazard.
In many countries, targeting has dismantled public service provision for the middle classes and created two-tier services, generally private services for the upper income groups and public services for low-income groups ―and services for the poor tend to be poor services.
Targeting can backfire politically; middle-income groups may not wish to see their taxes go to the poor while they are required to pay for expensive private services.
Targeting to the poorest and excluding vulnerable populations by policy design is inconsistent with international conventions.