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By Christopher J. Jewell (auth.)

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Additional resources for Agents of the Welfare State: How Caseworkers Respond to Need in the United States, Germany, and Sweden

Sample text

In Bremen (chapter 4), the German approach involves considerable articulation and continual regulatory development to define the parameters of basic need. ” Granting recipients support for “special needs” and helping recipients access more secure, alternative forms of public support are central activities. The utilization of this discretion, however, is significantly constrained by the demands of their work. They contend with a unique level of regulatory complexity stemming from the continued generation of new guidelines for one-time payments; the unusually broad range of needs over which they have jurisdiction, including complicated areas of disability and institutional care; and the distinctly difficult task of identifying alternative, precedential forms of public support in Germany’s larger social security system.

Esping-Andersen’s work spawned a large comparative welfare state literature that developed and complicated his “three worlds” framework. For example, scholars found that states often took alternative working class or welfare state strategies that could be effective at reducing inequality, both by reducing pre-tax and transfer inequality through labor market policies and by targeted benefits (Bonoli 1997). , Orloff 1993; Lewis 1992; Sainsbury 1994; Gustafsson 1994; Gornick, Meyers, and Ross 1997).

And “retreatism” occurs where officials avoid making decisions altogether or do so on entirely personal grounds, such as personal gain or convenience. In organizations where the central task involves engaging clients and/or providing the appropriate resources, orientation to rules is less central. The deliberations of frontline staff increasingly shift from rule interpretation to direct considerations of how well assessment and choice of intervention take client needs and interests into account, in light of organizational goals.

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