1st Edition

Rules of Relief Institutions of Social Security, and Their Impact

By J.C. Vrooman Copyright 2009
    542 Pages
    by Netherlands Institute for Social Research

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    This study is concerned with the collective consequences of social rules. The theoretical analyses take as a starting point the notion of 'new institutionalism' in the social sciences. The analyses focus on the nature and societal role of institutions, and more specifically social security institutions: the 'rules of relief' that are constructed by the community. Among other things, those institutions lay down the benefit entitlements that people enjoy and the duties that have to be fulfilled in order to enjoy them. The empirical analyses explore some of the effects of modern social security institutions. The central question is which collective outcomes are generated by the social security rules in 11 countries. The analyses first investigate whether the institutions differ from each other to such an extent that the national systems can in practice be said to represent three different types of social security: the liberal, the corporatist and the social-democratic model.


    J. C. Vrooman is Head of the Labour and Public Services research sector at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research and holds the Endowed Chair in Social Security and Participation at Utrecht University.

    "The book shows an impressive knowledge and understanding, in a welfare perspective, of many elements and details of social security systems... It includes a central and important distinction between formal and informal social security and a discussion of the interaction between rules and behaviour, including compliance with certain sets of rules and decisions. This is perhaps one of the most neglected areas of social security studies."

    Journal of Social Policy

    "Rules of Relief is undoubtedly state of the art research in many ways... [T]he book is a seminal contribution to the literature on institutional research and comparative welfare analysis. It contains a provocative analysis that will be useful for graduate students interested in social policy, institutional analysis and social security studies in general. Rules of Relief should also serve as a great reference library for researchers interested in understanding welfare state development in advanced industrialized countries."

    –European Journal of Social Security

    "Rules of Relief provides an interesting and a provocative demonstration that 'institutions matter' by outlining social security regulations in eleven developed countries... The book provides a theoretical analysis of the origin, emergence and development of social security institutions as well as the empirical evidence of their impact corresponding to the three models... [This book] provides meaningful insights to the collective significance of social security institutions and would be useful for researchers and students interested in social policy, understanding welfare state development in advances industrialized countries and making institutional analysis of social security issues."

    –Mala Kapur Shankardass, Comparative Sociology