Welfare conditionality has become an idea of global significance in recent years. A ‘hot topic’ in North America, Australia, and across Europe, it has been linked to austerity politics, and the rise of foodbanks and destitution. In the Global South, where publicly funded welfare protection systems are often absent, conditional approaches have become a key tool employed by organisations pursuing human development goals.
The essence of welfare conditionality lies in requirements for people to behave in prescribed ways in order to access cash benefits or other welfare support. These conditions are typically enforced through benefit ‘sanctions’ of various kinds, reflecting a new vision of ‘welfare’, focused more on promoting ‘pro-social’ behaviour than on protecting people against classic ‘social risks’ like unemployment.
This new book in Routledge’s Key Ideas series charts the rise of behavioural conditionality in welfare systems across the globe, its appeal to politicians of Right and Left, and its application to a growing range of social problems. Crucially it explores why, in the context of widespread use of conditional approaches as well as apparently strong public support, both the efficacy and the ethics of welfare conditionality remain so controversial. As such, Welfare Conditionality is essential reading for students, researchers, and commentators in social and public policy, as well as those designing and implementing welfare policies.
"An excellent guide to the complex and often contentious debates about the efficacy and legitimacy of welfare conditionality." - Alan Deacon, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of Leeds
Acknowledgements; Chapter 1. Introduction; The Broadening and Deepening of Welfare Conditionality; Conditionality, Austerity and Public Opinion; Conditionality and Social Control; This Book; Chapter 2. The Context for Conditionality; Targeting; Generosity; Entitlement; Concluding Comments; Chapter 3. The Techniques of Conditionality; Behavioural Requirements; Monitoring and Verification; Sanctions; Incentives; Concluding Comments; Chapter 4. The Subjects of Conditionality; Unemployed People; Low-Income Families with Children; Social Tenants; Homeless People; Concluding Comments; Chapter 5. The Impacts of Conditionality; Behavioural Assumptions; Effectiveness; Unintended, Spill-Over and Scar Effects; Costs; Alternatives; Concluding Comments; Chapter 6. The Ethics of Conditionality; Conditionality as an Ethical 'Problem' ; Rights; Utilitarianism; Contractualism; Communitarianism; Paternalism; Social Justice; Concluding Comments; Chapter 7. Conclusions; Putting Conditionality in the Spotlight; Putting Conditionality to the Test; Putting Conditionality in Context; Bibliography; Index