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Social Policy Review 25Analysis and debate in social policy, 2013$
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Gaby Ramia, Kevin Farnsworth, and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447312741

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447312741.001.0001

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Modernising social security for lone parents: avoiding fertility and unemployment traps when reforming social policy in Northern Europe

Modernising social security for lone parents: avoiding fertility and unemployment traps when reforming social policy in Northern Europe

Chapter:
(p.271) Fourteen Modernising social security for lone parents: avoiding fertility and unemployment traps when reforming social policy in Northern Europe
Source:
Social Policy Review 25
Author(s):

Anders Freundt

Simon Grundt Straubinger

Jon Kvist

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447312741.003.0014

From outside the toxified ‘work incentives’ debate in the UK, Anders Freundt, Simon Grundt Straubinger and Jon Kvist tackle the question of fertility and employment traps within contemporary social security systems. Their analysis explores cross-national differences between seven Northern European countries in the relationship between social security arrangements and opportunities for employment and family-building. Using economic indicators, the chapter focuses on the comparisons between the situations of lone parents and single people in order to examine the interface between economics and choices to work and have children. Lone parents are the focus because they are the fastest-rising family form and continue to represent the greatest challenge to the largely obsolete breadwinner model in many welfare states. The chapter shows a clear division between the social-democratic Nordic states and the others – Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. While this patterning may come as no surprise, the findings support the case for universalism rather than means-testing as the key to removing obstacles to employment and avoiding divisions between employed and unemployed people in family welfare.

Keywords:   Security, Lone parents, Fertility traps, Unemployment traps, Work incentives, Northern Europe, Family-building, Single people

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